After undergoing either of the open or endoscopic release surgery, it is time to get acquainted with how to recuperate from the major operation. It does not mean that when the carpal ligament is cut off, the patient is all too fine. In fact, some wrist strength is lost.
The carpal tunnel recovery depends on what type of anesthesia has been injected. If it is local and has been injected around the site of operation, the area and the nearby fingers will remain numb for up to ten hours after surgery. As this effect wears off, it may well be worth taking some pain-killers. Your carpal tunnel pain at night should settle immediately. Any tingling in the fingers may take some weeks to disappear.
Carpal Tunnel Recovery Reminder #1
Hand elevation is important to prevent swelling and stiffness of the fingers. Please remember not to walk with your hand dangling or to sit with your handheld in your lap. It is fine, however, to lower your hand for light use and you should get back to normal light activities as soon as possible as guided by common sense. There are a number of exercises you should do to prevent stiffness.
Carpal Tunnel Recovery Reminder #2
You have been discharged with a supportive dressing, consisting of gauze, wool, and a crêpe bandage. Do not forget to remove the entire dressing after five days and inspect the wound. There obviously will be some swelling and bruising. Look out for any redness or tenderness in the area around the wound that might indicate an infection. Do not apply antiseptic, for all you know, it is quite safe to leave the wound open. If you have any worries, do not hesitate to contact your doctor right away.
Carpal Tunnel Recovery Reminder #3
At this stage, it is safe to get the hand wet in a bath or shower. The wound and the surrounding skin often become very dry and will be more comfortable if a moisturizer is applied. An easy way of doing this is to briefly immerse your hand in some warm water to which some Johnson’s baby oil has been added. Alternatively, apply an unscented moisturizing cream to the skin.
Carpal Tunnel Recovery Reminder #4
You can drive if you are comfortable and have regained full finger movements especially if you have sufficient power to control the vehicle. The timing of your return to work is variable according to your occupation which should be discussed by your doctor and employee.
Carpal Tunnel Recovery Reminder #5
Stitches will be removed about two weeks after the operation. Following this, the scar will be somewhat lumpy, firm, and tender. The scar will settle after about three months, but massaging the area firmly with moisturizing cream can help this.