Endoscopic carpal tunnel release, what is it?

Q&A with Dr. Jeffrey Brooks, Hand Surgeon and Partner at OSSM:

Q: How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

A: The signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (a pinched nerve in the wrist/hand) can be varied: wrist pain, burning, numbness and tingling. The diagnosis can usually be made in a short office visit with minimal testing.

Q: How do I know if I need surgery?

A: Most cases do not require surgery and can be treated with splinting, medications, and sometimes cortisone injections. If conservative therapy fails, surgery is usually offered.

Q: If I need surgery, what are my options?

A: If you do need surgery, the least-invasive surgical treatment (“endoscopic” release) offers a much faster recovery than traditional “open” methods with less pain and faster return to sports and work activities.

Q: How long is the recovery after endoscopic release surgery?

A: While this result is unusual, we have seen electricians and other tradespeople return to work within 3 days after endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery (as opposed to 4-6 weeks with open release). Most people are better off than before the surgery by week 3-4 after endoscopic release compared with 6-7 weeks after open release.

Q: If the surgery is minimally invasive, isn’t it more dangerous since the surgeon can’t see as well as with a wide-open incision?

A: Many studies have shown endoscopic release is actually safer than open release. The surgeon can see much better as a camera is used thru a small incision in the wrist (rather than in the sensitive palm) and the images are projected on an ultra high-definition video monitor, magnified >50 times. It’s critical, however, that endoscopic release is performed by an experienced hand surgeon.┬áDr. Brooks has performed nearly 1,000 of these procedures safely and effectively.


video description of endoscopic carpal tunnel release is below: