Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

Two years ago, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand. Now I need it on the left. The last time they did an open incision but this time the surgeon is going to do it without opening my wrist. Will I be able to get back to work faster with this new method?

Answer:

Many surgeons have switched from the open-incision method to the endoscopic approach. Instead of a four-inch long cut, the surgeon makes an incision just big enough to insert a small, fiber-optic TV camera called an endoscope.

The endoscope is placed through this portal or opening and into the carpal tunnel. The surgeon passes all instruments through this portal. This displays a view inside the wrist up on a video screen. The surgeon uses this visual tool to help complete the operation.

Although the endoscopic method is less invasive, the final outcomes of these two approaches is the same. Studies have failed to show one operation works better than the other.

Short-term results may be better with endoscopic surgery. With less bleeding and a smaller scar, you may be able to resume work activities sooner than with the open-incision method. D. P. Forward, MRCS, et al. Preservation of the Ulnar Bursa Within the Carpal Tunnel: Does It Improve the Outcome of Carpal Tunnel Surgery? In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. November 2006. Vol. 88-A. No. 11. Pp. 2432-2438.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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