We continue with our series on Radial Tunnel Syndrome. In part one, you met the patient Tom Mundt from Tyler, Minnesota.
Tonight, you will get a better look at the deep rooted problem which is Tom's radial nerve. It is compressed and causing pain from his upper forearm down to his wrist. We get a rare look inside during surgery which happened early Tuesday February 5th at Avera McKennan Hospital.
A WARNING, if you decide to play the video, it may be graphic.
After living in pain for more than a year, Tom Mundt is happy to have his sore and at times useless right arm in the capable hands of Dr. Blake Curd, a hand surgeon with the Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls.
Dr Curd says, "In surgery we are basically going to expose the nerve at the site it is compressed and there's several different sites where it can be squeezed or choked off to release that pressure off all those sites during surgery. It can be relieved by some of the muscle over the nerve, that's usually what it consists of."
Dr. Curd performs about 4 to 6 of these surgeries a year which is often misdiagnosed as tennis elbow.
Dr. Curd says, "This nerve runs underneath the muscle called the supinator and that muscle helps turn your palm toward the ceiling, like holding a can of soup in the palm of your hand. That's how you remember supinator."
We watched as Dr. Curd gently cuts away muscle and clips off vessels that have narrowed the tunnel space for the nerve.. causing pain in the patient.
Dr. Curd says, "It is somewhat complicated in that there is a lot of small blood vessels that cross the nerve in that area. We take off the constricting factor as well. The nerve as I've said is already sensitive so you make sure you handle it gently so it doesn't react negatively to having surgery near it because you can actually make people worse during surgery."
Tom's surgery started at 7:30 in the morning. It will take until 8:30 until he's sewn up and then he goes into recovery for about an hour to an hour and a half. It's hard to belief he will be home in Tyler, Minnesota by the afternoon.
Dr. Curd says, "He will move his fingers tonight. We will be able to take care of himself. By that I mean eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, putting on clothes. We won't have him doing heavy lifting. He'll be on paper work patrol until I see him in about 10 days."
And we'll be there when he does. To finish up our series we will go to Tom's appointment with Dr. Curd two weeks after surgery.