Rushing back to activity too fast can cause complications with scar tissue formation and delayed healing or further injury of the soft tissue surrounding this delicate narrow passage at the base of the hand.
The tendons that control the movement of your hand and fingers all run through the Carpal Tunnel proximate to the Median Nerve. This is one of the reasons hand movement should be kept to a minimum during the early weeks of recovery after the procedure. Re-injury is not pleasant and can lead to significant scar tissue development.
Patients are often surprised to find some of the effects of surgery can lead to permanent limitations.
A “full recovery” may not be in the cards for every patient. For example, it is common to have permanent loss of grip strength. So, opening a jar, gripping a golf club, or holding garden tools firmly for digging might be compromised permanently.
Also, patients commonly report long-term tenderness at the point of incision, making it somewhat uncomfortable to ride a bike, gripping the handle bars. It can be difficult to grip a ski pole firmly for a secure pole plant on the ski slopes. You can also lose comfortable range of motion due to the formation of scar tissue. These effects are often permanent.
All in all, surgery is not to be taken lightly from a patient’s perspective. Surgery has to be repeated in about 85% of cases within seven years because it is not a permanent fix. You can learn more about the potential risks on this website under the title: Risks and Complications of Carpal Tunnel Surgery.
Choosing the right surgeon.
You should avoid surgery if you can, but if you feel that you have exhausted all clinically documented treatments, and need to resort to surgery on your hand, you should pick a good surgeon with a strong track record and schedule sufficient downtime for full recovery. It would also be wise to line up someone who can lend you a hand when needed during recovery. Handicapped people or caregivers taking care of a loved one, find it particularly difficult to line up the support.
If your symptoms do not go away after two or three months post-surgery, or you have new symptoms you did not have before surgery. You should visit the specialist to see what is going on with your hand. Patient survey’s give surgery a 50 to 60% success rate, so it is not unusual to have after effects and a long recovery period.