Risks and Complications of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Surgery is routine for Surgeons and they become accustom to the risks and tend to minimize the risks of surgery when they talk to patients. It is only natural, it is human nature to minimize the risks a person deals with on a daily basis. Airline pilots do it, big mountain skiers do it and so do hand surgeons.
However, there are well documented risks of any surgical procedure. These are divided into two categories Life Threatening Risks and Other Specific Risks of Carpal Tunnel Surgery:
Patients considering this surgery should go into the procedure with their eyes wide open to the potential risks.
Life Threatening Risks Associated with Any Surgical Procedure:
- Reactions to Anesthesia,
- Blood Clots that lead to
- Heart Attacks,
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Lung Damage
- Excessive Bleeding which can require blood Transfusions resulting in blood pressure cycling and stress on the heart.
These risks are higher for people in certain categories like those on blood thinner medication, who have to stop taking their blood thinner medication about a week before the surgical procedure. If you are on blood thinners, you should avoid any elective surgery, like Carpal Tunnel Surgery, if at all possible. There are 100,000 deaths associated with blood clots each year.
Specific Risks of Carpal Tunnel Surgery:
The Transverse Carpal Ligament – the largest and strongest ligament in the hand wrist area – is severed during Carpal Tunnel Surgery to relieve pressure on the Median Nerve.
- Permanent loss of grip strength is common with Carpal Tunnel Surgery.
- Permanent Tenderness at the point of incision is also common.
- Some people experience permanent loss of Hand Dexterity and Fine Motor Skills.
- Extended rehab periods are common. Rehabilitation runs from six weeks to over a year for some patients to regain functionality of their hands and wrists.
- Scar Tissue Development which can increase pressure on the nerve and make CTS worse after surgery than it was before.
- Permanent Nerve Damage can occur if the scalpel touches the Median Nerve which runs just under the Transverse Carpal Ligament, causing permanent nerve damage. Damage to the tendons, muscles and other soft tissue that run just under the Transverse Carpal Ligament.
- The need for a repeat surgery even after a successful Carpal Tunnel Surgical Procedure, because there is no permanent fix for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Second surgeries with any surgical procedure carry much more risks and are more complicated to perform due to scar tissue formation and loss of structural strength of the surrounding tissue from the original surgery.
Medical Text books suggest that you should not undergo any more than two Carpal Tunnel Surgeries in a life time. This is another reason to put off a surgical solution for as long as you can.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery gets a 50 to 60% success rate based on patient surveys and CTS symptoms come back within 6 months to 7 years after surgery for 85% of people.
Many patients ask: “Why would I take that risk for a condition that comes back even after Surgery?” Good question. Why would anybody take that risk if there are other clinically documented alternatives to Carpal Tunnel Surgery.
People with conditions like Arthritis find that the potential for excessive scar tissue formation is high. This makes the potential for complications much higher for the Carpal Tunnel Surgical procedure for people with Arthritis. CTS can get worse after surgery due to the formation of scar tissue.
Also, there are over 15 different contributing factors or causes for CTS. For people with autoimmune disorders, such as a thyroid condition or any other physiological condition that contributes to CTS, the time frame for the return of Carpal Tunnel Symptoms is reduced dramatically post-surgery. Carpal Tunnel Symptoms come back much more quickly after surgery under these conditions, making surgery a much more questionable option for treatment of Carpal Tunnel.
You can learn more about conditions that contribute to the rapid return of CTS: Carpal Tunnel Causes
When there are clinically documented treatments that do not carry any of these risks, there is no reason to consider Carpal Tunnel Surgery until you have exhausted the safe and non-invasive treatments that are clinically documented. The Carpal Solution is clinically documented, safe and convenient and works for 97% of people. Neurologists say it is the best first line treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The good news is that there is an alternative medical treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that was developed by doctors is clinically documented to work for a high percentage of patients, is FDA registered and has been used by over 60,000 people.
It is called the Carpal Solution Therapy. If your doctor thinks you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or is suggesting Carpal Tunnel Surgery – Given the risks and potential complications, and the low success rate based on patient surveys, you should look into the Carpal Solution Therapy, before you schedule surgery.
Watch this video of Surgical Nurse Kathy telling her experience with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.