The carpal tunnel release procedure is a surgery used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that afflicts the hand and wrist area. While it was previously believed that carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by overworking the hand and wrist muscles, scientists now have reason to believe that there is a genetic predisposition that makes some individuals more likely to develop the syndrome.


Your fingers get their ability to move from the median nerve and tendons that pass through your wrist; this passage is known as the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the swelling of the tissues within the tunnel presses on the median nerve, leading to symptoms such as numbness and pain. These symptoms tend to be more pronounced closer to the thumb. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to loss of function in the hand and/or wrist.


Once you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor will likely initially recommend nonsurgical treatment options. These remedies can include a combination of physical therapy, orally administered pain medication, changes in your lifestyle, and more. Surgery is usually only recommended if one or more of the below applies:

  • Your condition has shown little to no sign of improvement after the nonsurgical treatments.
  • The symptoms have persisted for more than 6 months with no positive results.
  • The muscles in your hand or wrist are getting smaller as a result of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Carpal tunnel release surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning patients can return home on the day of the surgery. Local anesthesia will be applied to your hand and wrist area so you do not feel any pain. There are two kinds of carpal tunnel release surgery:

  • Open release surgery: With open release surgery, a surgeon makes an incision on the wrist and cuts the carpal ligament to widen the carpal tunnel.
  • Endoscopic carpel tunnel release: With endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery, a surgeon makes small incisions, one on your wrist and one on your palm. The surgeon then attaches a camera to a tube and inserts it into one of the two incisions. This camera guides the surgeon as they cut your carpal ligament from the other incision.


After carpal tunnel release surgery, your hand will be in a bandage for 1 to 2 weeks. During this time, you will likely experience some pain which can be relieved with general over the counter pain medication. You should schedule a follow up visit with your doctor about 2 weeks post-surgery to get the bandage removed. It is also recommended to participate in post-surgery rehabilitation physical therapy for optimal recovery. This type of physical therapy will consist of motion exercises designed to improve the movement of your hand and wrist. It should also speed up the recovery process and strengthen the muscles in that area.

Excel Physical Therapy is more than just a program to help patients get back on their feet after surgery. We are committed to educating patients on injury prevention and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Our treatments are personalized according to your condition and individual needs. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today.