Procedure In The Wrist Relieves Pain In The Fingers

5:45 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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Clinton, Md. (WUSA9) -- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it's a condition that involves tingling and pain in your fingers.  It can be mild at first, but over time, the pain can become so intense that it can keep a patient up at night.

Richard Wise of Lanham says, "I was getting tingling, and numbness in my fingers and thumb."

Because of these sensations in his right hand, Richard was having trouble doing his job.  The HVAC mechanic felt discomfort while driving or even holding anything for an extended period of time.

Wise says, "I would often have to change positions or hold my hands down to get the blood flow or the nerves to stop tingling."

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve traveling through the wrist gets squeezed by the ligament over it.  This leads to pain and tingling in the fingers.

Most people associate it with excessive computer or keyboard use.  Experts say that's not the case, and repetitive wrist motion could set the stage for this common problem.

"I really don't do all that much work on the computer," adds Wise.

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Angela Jones of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital says, "There are a couple of jobs that can put you at risk.  Something like operating a jackhammer or working on an assembly.  We haven't been able to prove that typing is one of those jobs."

For Richard, Dr. Jones suggested the most advanced surgical procedure that treats carpal tunnel called endoscopic carpal tunnel release.  This was suggested after a series of non-surgical treatment were administered. 

The endoscopic procedure involves using tiny instruments through an incision in the wrist.  Other procedures involved incisions in the hand.  An entry into the wrist leads to a less painful recovery.

A camera is used in the incision, the guidance from that camera is used cut the ligament that is trapping the nerve.  This releases pressure on the nerve, leading to pain relief in the fingers.

Wise says, "Right after the surgery, immediately I noticed that I didn't have the tingling and numbness that I had previously."

Four weeks later, Richard returned for his follow up visit with Dr. Jones.  He still wears a brace on his right hand most of the time, but he is showing progress.

Dr. Jones says, "He looked great, he's almost 4 weeks out, he's been working since about 3 days after his surgery actually and he is very pleased."

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