At Practice Plus Group we offer fast access to high-quality carpal tunnel surgery and treatment via self-pay, insured and NHS routes.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by compression of the median nerve, one of the nerves that control feeling and movement in the hands.
The median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passage in the wrist made up of small bones and soft tissue that act as a pulley for the tendons that bend the fingers.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
CTS is a relatively common medical condition which can include numbness and tingling, a weakness in the thumb and a dull ache in the palm of your hand or arm. Discomfort can be particularly evident at night. Learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Carpal tunnel syndrome risk factors
Little is known about what causes the compression of the median nerve but contributory factors seem to be: a family history of CTS; injury to the wrist; pregnancy; conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes; repetitive use of the hand(s).
How is carpal tunnel diagnosed?
For accurate diagnosis you should see your doctor. Diagnosis can sometimes be made from symptoms and examination. Your doctor will examine your hand and wrist for signs of the condition, and may even need to take a look at your neck. Depending on what your surgeon recommends, you may also need a nerve conduction test.
When to seek carpal tunnel syndrome treatment
CTS can range from an inconvenience to a source of intense pain. A range of treatments are available and the treatment you may receive to deal with your CTS will depend on its severity and how long you have had it.
Carpal tunnel treatment without surgery
It is not likely to be necessary for you to have surgery immediately. Your treatment will begin with your GP, and then a referral to the musculo-skeletal physiotherapy service. Treatment may start with wrist splints to help keep your wrist in a neutral position. Wearing a splint prevents your wrist from bending and thus avoids putting additional pressure on the nerve.
An improvement in symptoms may be noticed within four weeks.
Carpal tunnel injections
Your doctor may also suggest corticosteroid injections, especially if wrist splints have not worked for you. Steroids are natural hormones produced in the body that can help reduce inflammation. Corticosteroids can be taken in tablet form, although for CTS they are usually injected straight into the wrist.
One injection is given to see if this is the right therapy for you. If one injection has proved effective but the condition returns (which it sometimes does) this form of treatment may be repeated after a period of time.
What is carpal tunnel surgery?
If your CTS has not responded to wrist splints or corticosteroid injections the next step may be surgery. You should discuss this with your GP and your surgeon to make sure that all other forms of treatment have been exhausted and that you are made fully aware of the implications of surgery.
This type of surgery is known as carpal tunnel decompression or carpal tunnel release surgery. It is carried out as day surgery under local anaesthetic, which means you do not need to stay in hospital overnight.
The carpal ligament, which is the roof of the carpal tunnel, is cut to relieve pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. In most cases, this type of surgery provides a complete cure.
Carpal tunnel surgery – what to expect
The surgery itself takes between 10 and 20 minutes and is done under local anaesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small incision in the wrist which enables them to release the carpal ligaments. They’ll then stitch up the cut and apply heavy bandaging to ensure minimal wrist movement. The local anaesthesia will likely wear off a few hours after the procedure. Once your doctor gives you the all clear you should be free to go home.
How long does carpal tunnel surgery take?
Carpal tunnel surgery lasts about 10 to 20 minutes and you do not need to stay in hospital overnight.
Carpal tunnel surgery success rates
Although figures differ according to the source, it’s generally accepted that the success rate of carpal tunnel surgery is over 90%. There is a 5-10% chance of reoccurrence.
Carpal tunnel surgery complications
Potential risks are those related to all types of surgery including infection, nerve and blood vessel injury. Risks related to the procedure include a dull pain around the surgical scar called ‘pillar pain” which usually resolves itself within months.
After carpal tunnel surgery
After your hand and wrist surgery, the affected area will be bandaged for 24-48 hours and you should keep both elevated to reduce swelling. You will usually be asked to wear a shoulder sling and it is advisable to keep moving to help with swelling and stiffness, such as gently moving your fingers, elbow and shoulder. This can begin on the day of your operation.
Recovery from carpal tunnel surgery
You can start to use your hand and wrist for light duties provided there is no pain or discomfort. It is recommended that you avoid using your hand and wrist for any strenuous or heavy activities for at least six weeks after carpal tunnel surgery, until you have completely recovered.
Carpal tunnel surgery aftercare
The key to recovery is rest. You need to avoid using your arm as much as possible. This includes not typing and not lifting items heavier than a few kilos. You should also avoid repetitive wrist movements until the wound has healed. This takes about two weeks.
At Practice Plus Group, surgery is available at locations across the UK and pricing is fixed. The procedure can be paid for upfront or with health insurance. You will need to check with your insurance provider to confirm whether your carpal tunnel procedure is covered under your policy.
Regardless of whether you pay for yourself, use health insurance or have your care via the NHS, you have the right to choose where to have your treatment.
Preparing for your carpal tunnel operation
In the weeks leading up to your operation, observing the following tips can help you to prepare:
A pre-operative assessment is our opportunity to ensure that the procedure for which you have been referred is right for you. We’ll explain your treatment to you and makes sure that you are well enough to go ahead with it. It is also your opportunity to meet the team who will care for you and to ask any questions.
Ways to pay
There are 3 ways to access carpal tunnel treatment at Practice Plus Group:
At Practice Plus Group Hospitals, we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short carpal tunnel surgery waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.
Access carpal tunnel treatment near you
Carpal tunnel treatment is available at the following Practice Plus Group locations:
St. Mary’s Portsmouth
At Practice Plus Group Hospitals, we provide first-class care from first-class consultants and surgeons. With state-of-the-art facilities and a commitment to patient-centred care, we’re dedicated to ensuring comfort, safety, and satisfaction throughout your surgical journey.
Carpal tunnel syndrome FAQs
Not quite found what you’re looking for? Our dedicated carpal tunnel FAQs may be able to help!
The most effective treatments in milder cases are:
use of a splint
When these fail to produce any alleviating effects, your doctor may prescribe surgery.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition found in adults. It is more common in women.
If rest, wearing a splint and steroid injections don’t help, or if your symptoms are persistent, your doctor may recommend surgery.
If carpal tunnel syndrome is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to permanent loss of function and sensation in the affected hand and fingers.
The two types are:
Open release: the surgeon makes an incision in the wrist to access the carpal tunnel
Endoscopic release: a thin flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the wrist through the incision. This method isn’t widely used nowadays.
Due to the phasing out of the endoscopic release method, by default, the answer is open release.
Endoscopic release is the least invasive type of carpal tunnel surgery. However, it’s no longer a widely used method of surgery.
The surgery itself isn’t painful as you’ll have received local anaesthetic. Post-surgery discomfort can be treated with Ibuprofen or regular over-the-counter painkillers.
With a success rate of over 90%, carpal tunnel surgery is not considered a risky procedure. However, among the potential risks are bleeding, infection and damage to the median nerve.
Yes. During carpal tunnel surgery, you will receive local rather than general anaesthetic.
The most important thing to do after surgery is rest. You should avoid repetitive wrist movements, as well as lifting heavy objects. Heavy bandaging and possibly a splint will be applied. Some of the bandaging can be removed after two days.
To help manage any pain or discomfort following the procedure, your doctor may provide pain relief.
In the initial recovery period, you should avoid lifting heavy objects and repetitive hand movements while your wrist heals.
You should use your hand as soon as possible after surgery to help reduce stiffness. However, you should avoid activities that involve heavy lifting and repetitive hand movements. If you have any questions or are unsure about what you can and can’t do, please consult your doctor.
While recovering from carpal tunnel surgery, it’s helpful if you can keep your affected arm elevated while asleep. Resting your hand on a pile of pillows next to you is a useful way of ensuring you don’t end up rolling on top of your hand while asleep.
Most patients will be able to drive again around two weeks after surgery. Each patient heals at a different rate, so it’s important to make sure your wound is fully healed before driving again. This is to prevent your stitches coming loose and wound reopening while operating the steering wheel.
Went here as a nervous patient. From the moment I arrived I was made to feel welcome and looked after extremely well. Practice Plus Group staff are just amazing and caring.
by M K
Above and beyond
Big shout out to Practice Plus Group Plymouth who went above and beyond to make my day case visit today as comfortable as possible, from the day case nurses to all the theatre staff. Special mention to Carly, Cathy, Amy and Elaine(?) nothing was too much trouble!
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Portsmouth – brilliant service
I visited [Practice Plus Group Surgical Centre, St Mary’s Portsmouth] walk-in centre today and although there were quite a few people already there I was in and out in 15 minutes. They were very efficient and helpful.
Best hospital I have ever been in
This is the best hospital I have ever been in. The care and efficiency were excellent. My operation was conducted by a top class surgeon and anaesthetist who made me feel relaxed and secure. The team in the Kingfisher ward were kind and professional with good bedside manners and sense of humour. There were no delays in the treatment. My stay was made as comfortable as possible and I thank everyone involved. I am now recovering well.
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I very much appreciate the passion and attentiveness of you and your caring staff at [Practice Plus Group Surgical Centre, St Mary’s Portsmouth].