Is carpal tunnel surgery worth it? The pros and cons

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that typically affects the hands and wrists. Hand and wrist pain are usually the earliest symptoms and, left untreated, this condition can lead to severe aches and pains. People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome are often unable to work with their hands for extended periods of time. Tingling, numbness and weakness can all be products of carpal tunnel syndrome.

This condition is caused by compression of the median nerve. This nerve runs from the forearm into the hand and plays an important role in motor function. In extreme cases, carpal tunnel surgery may be a viable treatment option. This surgery can involve cutting a ligament in the wrist to open up the carpal tunnel and make room for the median nerve. Before committing to an invasive treatment course, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery.

Benefits of carpal tunnel surgery

  • Reduced symptoms — The main benefit of carpal tunnel surgery is relief from symptoms. People who undergo carpal tunnel surgery can experience a significant reduction in symptoms like wrist weakness and chronic pain. Because the surgery creates space for the median nerve, it can cut off symptoms at the source. When considering the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery, symptom relief can be an important factor.
  • Rapid relief — Surgery is an immediate treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome. Unlike treatments that can take weeks or months to have significant effects, surgery can address the problem in one procedure. However, it is important to consider the time it takes to recover from surgery. Some surgeries can take a long time to recover from, and your wrist and hand may not be usable during that time.
  • Long-term improvement — Carpal tunnel surgery is intended to eliminate compression of the median nerve. This can result in significant improvement in a patient’s health, with normal sensation returning to the wrist and hand. These improvements can also provide lasting relief from other carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

Drawbacks of carpal tunnel surgery

  • Surgery complications — Treatment options that involve invasive procedures like surgery can have risks for the patient. In addition to other complications, the tissue around the surgery incision will often scar. Of carpal tunnel surgery’s pros and cons, this has the potential to be an extremely serious downside.
  • High cost — Compared to other treatment options, carpal tunnel surgery can be expensive. This expense may be especially high if the procedure is not covered by your health insurance provider. Costs are not limited to surgery and may also include other appointments and postoperative care. Given the financial burden, it is important to determine whether carpal tunnel surgery is worth it. The pros and cons of the procedure should be carefully analyzed beforehand.
  • Lasting weakness — While carpal tunnel surgery can alleviate certain symptoms and restore some functions, it is not guaranteed to provide a full return to health. It is important to consider the lasting effectiveness when thinking about the pros and cons of a treatment option like carpal tunnel surgery. Patients may experience lasting weakness and stiffness in the wrist even after recovering from surgery. By undergoing carpal tunnel surgery, one can also lose grip strength.

Alternatives to carpal tunnel surgery

  • Wrist braces — There are a variety of ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome without surgery. The pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery can be compared to other treatment options; if another treatment provides stronger upsides or fewer risks, it may be a better choice. One such treatment option is wearing a wrist brace. Wrist braces or splints can relieve pressure on the median nerve. This can reduce carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Wrist braces can be worn while doing tasks like writing that would ordinarily intensify carpal tunnel symptoms.
  • Prevention techniques — Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by certain behaviors or motions. Repetitive wrist motions and continuous wrist pressure can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or worsen its effects. People who work in office environments are especially at risk for this, which is why it is important to take frequent breaks and keep a good posture. This can help keep carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms at a manageable level.
  • Physical therapy — One of the most effective treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome is physical therapy. When comparing the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery versus physical therapy, physical therapy has fewer associated risks. Benefits of physical therapy include symptom relief as well as improved flexibility and strength in the wrist.

Border Therapy Services can help treat your carpal tunnel syndrome without surgery

Physical therapy can be a highly effective treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome. At Border Therapy Services, we offer a range of techniques designed to help you recover from carpal tunnel syndrome. Manual therapy techniques, for example, can be used to mobilize the tissue around your wrist and relieve the pressure on your median nerve. Pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery aside, physical therapy can lead to relief from symptoms and improvement in health. If you do decide that carpal tunnel surgery is right for you, post-surgical rehab can help ensure a full and rapid recovery.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to treat your carpal tunnel syndrome.