The total average cost for a carpal tunnel release surgery in the USA is $2,451.
A collection of ligament and tissue, positioned at the base of the palm and known as the carpal tunnel, surrounds a portion of the nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand. This nerve affects the muscles and sensations in the underside of the fingers, thumb and palm. When tendons in the area become irritated, inflamed or thicken, it causes the carpal tunnel to swell, putting pressure on the nerve and reducing function in the hand, a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The increased pressure on the nerve results in a host of symptoms in the hand and wrist, including tingling, numbness, weakness and pain, the latter often radiating out from the wrist and up the forearm.
When the carpal tunnel first becomes irritated, symptoms are mild yet annoying, including a burning, tingling or itching sensation in the palm and fingers. These symptoms worsen as the irritation in the carpal tunnel increases, making it difficult to move the fingers and/or create a gripping motion with the hand due to a lack of muscle control and the pain caused by increased pressure on the nerve. Even at rest, pain may still be present.
Ultimately, carpal tunnel syndrome can dramatically diminish a person’s sensation in his or her hands, to the point where it’s difficult to differentiate between hot and cold or different textures simply by touch, and manipulating or holding objects becomes nearly impossible.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The diagnostic process begins with doctors reviewing patient symptoms, including the actions that cause the symptoms to flare and where the primary symptoms are presenting. For example, if a patient experiences pain and tingling in the pointer, middle and ring finger as well as the thumb when gripping objects, carpal tunnel syndrome is a prime suspect for the cause of those symptoms. Yet if the pain and tingling is relegated to the pinky finger, carpal tunnel syndrome is often ruled out because the nerve responsible for the syndrome doesn’t connect to the pinky finger.
When carpal tunnel syndrome is suspected, doctors utilize a thorough physical exam to test for finger dexterity and muscle strength, x-rays to rule out other causes of pain, and a nerve conduction study to definitively diagnose the syndrome.
Treating Carpal Tunnel
When symptoms are mild, treatment starts with lifestyle changes, including avoiding activities that cause the symptoms and/or taking frequent breaks during those activities to ease symptoms. When this fails to work or symptoms are more severe, patients may be required to wear a splint while sleeping to minimize swelling and stress and take anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve inflammation and pain.
In some cases, these conservative measures fail to provide patients with enough relief. In these instances, a surgical procedure that removes ligaments and tissue pressing on the nerve helps to relieve pressure, reduce irritation and give the affected area time to recuperate. Two surgical methods are used to accomplish this task: endoscopic surgery and open surgery. For the former, a hollow tube with a camera is inserted into the wrist and the surgeon works through the tube to remove tissue. For the latter, surgeons make an incision into the palm of the hand to reach the ligament.
Conditions data consists of possible treatment and diagnosis pathways based on that condition but should not be used as medical advice or relied upon for medical diagnosis or treatment. Spotlight Health is for your informational use only. No information from Spotlight Health should be construed as medical advice or relied upon for diagnosis or treatment. We do not recommend any particular healthcare provider whose information is on our site. Please read our full Terms Of Service here.