Hand Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Hand Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Hand Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa


Carpal tunnel release is a surgery to treat and possibly heal carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is pain and weakness in the hand that is caused by pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel passage in the wrist.

The median nerve and the tendons that flex (or curl) your fingers go through a passage called the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This tunnel is narrow, so any swelling can pinch the nerve and cause pain. A thick ligament just under your skin (the carpal ligament) makes up the top of this tunnel and the wrist bones forms the bottom. During the operation, the surgeon cuts through the carpal ligament to make more space for the nerve and tendons that run through the passage.

Originally, carpal tunnel syndrome was thought to be caused by repetitive actions or overuse of the wrist and hand in everyday activities. However, doctors now know that carpal tunnel syndrome is caused more by genetic predisposition than overuse as some people’s carpal tunnels are just smaller than others’. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by an injury to the wrist, such as a sprain or a fracture, and has been linked to diabetes, pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis.

The surgery is done in the following way:

First, you receive numbing medicine so that you do not feel pain during surgery. You may be awake but you will also receive medicines to make you relax. A small surgical cut is made in the palm of your hand near your wrist.

Next, the ligament that covers the carpal tunnel is cut. This eases the pressure on the median nerve. Sometimes, tissue around the nerve is removed as well.
The skin and tissue underneath your skin are closed with sutures (stitches).

Sometimes this procedure is done by using a tiny camera attached to a monitor. The surgeon inserts the camera into your wrist through a very small surgical cut and views the monitor to see inside your wrist. This is called endoscopic surgery. The camera instrument used is called an endoscope.

Wrist Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Wrist Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Wrist Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa

Why is the Procedure Performed?

People with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually try nonsurgical treatments first. These may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy to learn strengthening exercises and stretches
  • Workplace modifications to improve your posture and how you use your computer or other equipment
  • Wrist splints
  • Shots of corticosteroid medicine into the carpal tunnel

If none of these treatments help, some surgeons will test the electrical activity of the median nerve with an EMG (electromyogram). If the test shows that the problem is carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel release surgery may be recommended.

If the muscles in your hand and wrist are getting smaller (atrophying) because the nerve is being pinched, surgery will usually be done soon.

Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release

Whether you’re genetically predisposed to carpal tunnel or the syndrome was brought about from an injury,

Dr. Pruitt can help you find relief.

Dr. Pruitt specializes in carpal tunnel release, sports medicine and joint replacement.

Let Orthopaedics, P.C. help you get on your way to a healthy recovery.

Let’s get your life back!


Orthopaedics, P.C. to schedule your consultation