Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery - GO.CARE Blog
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
Author: Quỳnh Nguyễn
Review Date: August 6, 2018 | Last Modified: January 12, 2019
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery


1. What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery involves cutting a fibrous band on the inside of the wrist, known as the flexor retinaculum.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow opening in the wrist through which the median nerve and several tendons pass through. When these tendons become inflamed, pressure on the median nerve can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations to radiate into the hand. This is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

For some, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be managed without surgery. However, many people find that carpal tunnel release surgery is the most effective way to treat the condition and resolve their symptoms.

There are two possible procedures for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery:

  • Open carpal tunnel release
  • Endoscopic carpal tunnel release

2. What is the purpose of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery can help relieve symptoms or make them go away for good.


1. When is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery needed?

Most people with carpal tunnel syndrome only consider having surgery if other treatments don’t provide enough relief.

Although Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery sometimes makes the symptoms go away for good, it’s not always necessary. Other treatments are usually preferred, especially if the condition is still in an early stage. Urgent surgery is usually only needed for treating a very uncommon condition called acute carpal tunnel syndrome.

2. Who are eligible for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

Eligibility for each type depends on your current stage, general health, and probably your preferences.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.


In the U.S, the total cost of the surgical procedure if you do not have health insurance, with anesthesia, etc. is usually in the range of $4,000 to $12,000.

In Malaysia, the minimum cost for Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery is estimated to be around RM130.


1. What should I do before Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

• Know the type of surgery you will undergo: understanding the type of surgery your doctor will be using on you is a very important thing. It will help you prepare appropriately and in advance. Since there are two different types of surgery for releasing the carpal ligament, they require different preparation measures. The knowledge on the type of surgery that you will be undergoing should be comprehensive so as to ensure efficiency. Always know the risks and benefits of the surgery as well as other options that may be taken.

• Stop taking blood thinners before the surgery: carpal tunnel release surgery will usually be accompanied by some bleeding. This is an obvious consequence especially of the open surgery procedure. This being the case, it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent the excessive loss of blood. One should stop taking blood-thinning medications that may increase bleeding during the surgery, These include aspirin, clopidpgrel (Plavix), and warfarin (Coumadin). It is also advisable that you consult with your doctor before you stop taking the medicine.

• Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medication: talking to your doctor about your medication is an important step in preparing for the surgery. You should include not only all the medicines you are taking but also any supplements and alternative or natural remedies. Some medicines are known to have effects that may have an impact the surgery. Informing your doctor about all the medications and supplements you have been taking will help him or her know what to do and not to do during the surgery.

Preparation on the Day of the Surgery

Here are the things to do and not to do on the day of your surgery:

  • Always take a shower before going into surgery. This will give your surgeon an easy time. It is also advisable not to apply any deodorant, perfumes, nail polish, or lotions.
  • Before going into the surgery room, remove all your jewelry and accessories. Also, make sure that you remove your contact lenses if you wear them.
  • Do not shave the surgical area yourself.
  • Always follow all the instructions given to you concerning what to eat and what not to eat. This includes when you should have eaten and drunk anything for the last time before surgery. Also remember when to stop certain medications if required to.
  • Ensure that you ask your doctor any questions and voice out all your concerns before the surgery starts.

2. What should I do after Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

After surgery, the hand is wrapped. The stitches are removed 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. The pain and numbness may go away right after surgery or may take several months to subside. Try to avoid heavy use of your hand for up to 3 months.

The timing of your return to work depends on the type of surgery you had, whether the surgery was on your dominant hand (the hand you use most), and your work activities.

If you had open surgery on your dominant hand and you do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 6 to 8 weeks. Repeated motions include typing or assembly-line work. If the surgery was on the other hand and you do not do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 7 to 14 days.

If you had endoscopic surgery, you may be able to return to work sooner than with open surgery. In addition to resting and taking your pain medications, you can help your recovery go more smoothly by:

  • Keeping your hand elevated.
  • Icing the surgical site for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day.
  • Preparing meals before surgery that will be easy to heat and serve.
  • Wearing slip-on shoes and loose-fitting clothing that’s easy to get on and off.
  • Using the voice activation controls on your phone and other electronics, when you can.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.


1. How long does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery last?

The surgery only takes the surgeon about 15 minutes to a half hour to perform.

2. How is the procedure of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

There are two main types of carpal tunnel release surgery: open and endoscopic. In both cases, your doctor cuts the ligament around the carpal tunnel to take pressure off the median nerve and relieve your symptoms. After the surgery, the ligament comes back together, but with more room for the median nerve to pass through.

First, you’ll get local anesthesia — drugs to numb your hand and wrist. You may also get medicine to help keep you calm. (General anesthesia, which means you will not be awake during surgery, is not common for carpal tunnel syndrome).

• Open surgery involves a larger cut, or incision. The surgeon makes a cut on the inside of the wrist, and then cuts right through the flexor retinaculum.

• In endoscopic surgery. Here the surgeon has to make a cut on your palm and your wrist. They insert a very small camera (called an “endoscope”) through one of the cuts to monitor the procedure, and guide an instrument through the second cut to then cut right through the flexor retinaculum. Another endoscopic technique involves using just one small cut in the wrist.

When the operation is finished, your doctor stitches the openings shut and puts a large bandage on your wrist. This protects your wound and keeps you from using your wrist.

Your doctor and nurses will keep an eye on you for a little while before letting you go home. You’ll likely leave the hospital the same day. Overnight stays are rare.

3. What happens after the procedure?

Most people who have surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome have fewer or no symptoms of pain and numbness in their hand after surgery. In rare cases, the symptoms of pain and numbness may return (the most common complication), or there may be temporary loss of strength when pinching or gripping an object, due to the cutting of the transverse carpal ligament.

If the thumb muscles have been severely weakened or wasted away, hand strength and function may be limited even after surgery.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.

Complications & Side Effects

1. What complications could arise from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

Risks and complications come with any operation. For both types of carpal tunnel release surgery, they include:

  • Bleeding
  • Damage to your median nerve or nearby nerves and blood vessels
  • Infection of your wound
  • Risks of general anesthesia. But most open carpal tunnel surgery is done with local anesthesia or regional block rather than with general anesthesia.

2. What are the possible side effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery?

After open surgery, recovery may be slower than after endoscopic surgery. And there may be some pain in the wrist and hand. You may also have some tenderness around the scar.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.

Please choose the best hospitals and clinics that provide carpal tunnel syndrome surgery in Asia to get the most suitable healthcare for your condition.

GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

1. What is The Cost of Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
Accessed 20/06/2018.
2. Do I Need Carpal Tunnel Surgery? Accessed 20/06/2018.
3. Open Carpal Tunnel Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Accessed 20/06/2018.
4. Carpal tunnel syndrome: When is surgery considered or needed? Accessed 20/06/2018.
5. Carpal Tunnel Surgery: What to Expect Accessed Accessed 20/06/2018.
6. How to Prepare For Carpal Tunnel Surgery Accessed 20/06/2018.