Before and after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery – the benefits

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s characterised by numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand. This is caused by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist.

As the condition worsens, conservative treatments may fail to provide relief. At this point, surgery becomes a viable option. In this article, we delve into the benefits of undergoing carpal tunnel syndrome surgery and explore the positive changes it could bring to your life.

Older woman playing tennis after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

Symptoms before and after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

As a first step on the road to carpal tunnel treatment, you may try the following non-surgical treatments:

  • wrist splints
  • anti-inflammatory medications
  • physiotherapy
  • corticosteroid injections.

However, if these measures don’t provide sufficient relief, surgery may be the next logical step.

Before carpal tunnel surgery

Before opting for surgery, carpal tunnel can cause severe symptoms that significantly impact daily life. These may include:

  • persistent numbness and tingling in the fingers, particularly at night
  • weakness and difficulty gripping objects
  • pain radiating from the wrist to the arm.

The discomfort and weakness associated with CTS can limit your ability to perform routine tasks. This can impact work activities, hobbies, and your overall quality of life. Typing, writing, cooking, and even simple activities like holding a book can become challenging and painful.

After carpal tunnel surgery

Carpal tunnel release surgery is a common procedure for treating CTS and relieving pressure on the median nerve. Several types of surgery are available through different medical centres depending on the type of issue you have. These include:

  • open surgery
  • endoscopic surgery.

The right treatment for you will depend on the severity and stage of carpal tunnel syndrome, along with other factors relating to your health and wellbeing.

After surgery, most people experience immediate relief from the numbness, tingling, and pain they endured before the procedure.

You will be encouraged to use your hand and gently move your fingers as soon as possible. This is to help promote mobility and reduce stiffness and swelling.

Following surgery, you will start to regain strength and functionality in your fingers, hand, and wrist. Daily activities like typing, writing, and gripping objects should become easier and less painful as your strength returns.

Once you have recovered from carpal tunnel surgery, you should be able to resume your normal routines and hobbies without discomfort. This will allow for a more fulfilling and active lifestyle.

Life after surgery – the benefits

Here are just some of the benefits of undergoing surgery:

  • Symptom relief: Carpal tunnel surgery aims to alleviate the pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. By doing so, it effectively relieves symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and fingers. Many patients experience immediate improvement in their pre-surgery symptoms following surgery
  • Better hand function: After surgery, many people notice a significant improvement in hand functionality. The surgery allows for better mobility, strength, and dexterity in the affected hand. This will enable you to perform daily activities with less discomfort and greater ease
  • Enhanced quality of life: Being able to use your hand and fingers without constant pain and discomfort allows you to return to the hobbies and activities you love to do
  • Fast recovery: Carpal tunnel release surgery is typically an outpatient procedure. Recovery times are relatively short. Most patients can resume light activities within a few days and return to work within a few weeks, depending on the nature of their job
  • Prevention of nerve damage: Carpal tunnel surgery helps prevent further damage to the median nerve. By addressing the root cause of the condition, surgery can halt the progression of nerve damage and potentially prevent long-term complications
  • Long-term health: In the long run, carpal tunnel surgery provides lasting relief from CTS symptoms. It helps prevent further nerve damage and can prevent the condition from progressing, ensuring a better quality of life for years to come
  • Improved sleep: Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome experience symptoms like numbness and tingling at night that disrupt their sleep. Carpal tunnel surgery can alleviate these symptoms. This can allow for better sleep and improved well-being
  • Getting back to work: If your work is affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery can ease symptoms and help you get back to work comfortably, without the limitations posed by the condition.

Is there a downside to carpal tunnel surgery?

Like any medical procedure, the procedure is not without risks. This means it’s important to be informed about the possible complications. Here are some of the potential downsides:

  • after surgery, you may experience some pain, discomfort or tenderness at the surgical site. This should reduce over time as you recover
  • surgery involves making incisions, which can result in visible scars. While efforts are made to minimise scarring, they can still occur
  • as with any surgical procedure, there’s a risk of infection at the incision site. While rare, other complications such as bleeding, nerve damage, or allergic reactions to anaesthesia can also occur
  • while carpal tunnel surgery has a high success rate, there’s no absolute guarantee that it will completely alleviate symptoms or restore wrist and hand functionality for every individual
  • there are certain restrictions after carpal tunnel surgery to follow to ensure proper healing. This may include avoiding heavy lifting or driving for a few weeks after surgery.

You may also like: Carpal tunnel surgery costs explained

Carpal tunnel surgery – before and after stories

Don’t just take our word for it. The story below describes the experience of a Practice Plus Group patient.

“The care and efficiency were excellent. There were no delays in the treatment and my stay was made as comfortable as possible. I am now recovering well!”

Iain Robertson, Practice Plus Group carpal tunnel surgery patient

Carpal tunnel surgery offers a multitude of benefits. From immediate relief of symptoms to improved hand functionality and a better overall quality of life – the surgery can be life-changing.

If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms, consult a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment and find out whether surgery is a suitable option for you.

Alison Edward Medical Director Shepton


This article was completed with the help of Miss Alison Edwards, Medical Director at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet. Miss Edwards graduated from Oxford University Medical School in 1992. In 2003 she completed higher surgical training at the West Midlands Deanery, in trauma and orthopaedics. Working at University Hospitals Coventry, Warwickshire, and Bristol & Weston, she joined Practice Plus Group in 2022 as a hand and wrist surgeon. Over the last few years Practice Plus Group has grown its Marketing Team to include art workers, campaign and social media managers, content editors, and digital analysts. Together, they provide a responsive and comprehensive service, ensuring all content is on-brand and in-line with relevant medical guidelines.
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