For many people carpal tunnel is a painful arm-tingling nuisance that they simply choose to ignore. But relief could be just a few snips away.
It's been a little over a week since Lauri Finnegan last saw Dr. Scott McPherson, this time there are no incisions. He's just making sure his surgery to correct her carpal tunnel syndrome did it's job.
"Couple tunnel is a constellation of symptoms you get when you get too much pressure on the median nerve right here at the wrist level." Said Dr. McPherson, an orthopedic surgeon with CORE Orthopedics.
Whether it's was a tingling sensation or limbs that fell asleep, Lauri had been dealing with the condition for sometime. Her last pregnancy also intensified her symptoms.
"My OB/GYN had advised me that hopefully it would go away but three months later it hadn't so I had a cortisone shot with Dr. McPherson at that time and it help for little while and then I limped along for a while and I knew I wanted to have it done in 2014 so I just went ahead and had it done." Said Finnegan.
Lauri opted to have a carpal tunnel release in her right wrist. There are nine tendons that all go through the same gap in the wrist. Those tendons can thicken with age and put plenty of pressure on the median nerve
"It's kind of like a closet that you keep stuffing things in the closet and eventually the stuff that's in the far corner gets tight and gets pressure on it." Said Dr. McPherson.
The surgery to correct the problem is not as complicated as it may seem. Dr. McPherson applies a local anesthetic and a tourniquet to Lauri's arm, as she'll be awake for the entire procedure.
"The incision will go from here to here. That opens up right over that transverse carpal ligament and you cut across that ligament this way and essentially then it just spreads out and now it takes the pressure off the nerve." Said Dr. McPherson.
Bisecting the ligament is a simple cut, but it does so much without completely changing the way your hand works.
"That ligament even though it spreads out it's kind of like your appendix, it's there but you don't necessarily need it for anything; your hand continues to function well." Said Dr. McPherson.
After a quick rinse Dr. McPherson has Lauri do a quick function test.
"Make a fist for me. Good." Said Dr. McPherson.
Then it's time to close, a few stitches and a thick bandage later, Lauri is on her way out the door and one step closer to relief. A week later, the scar is healing up nicely but underneath is also feeling much better.
"It's not waking me up at night anymore and I wrote out some thank you cards and colored with my four-year-old and was able to do all that without problems!" Said Finnegan.
"All of a sudden they get rid of the night-waking, they get rid of that kind of intense burning or radiating kind of pain, so the vast majority are really very satisfied and very happy they had it done." Said Dr. McPherson.
With such a quick answer to correct her carpal tunnel, Lauri's one regret is that she didn't do this sooner.
Dr. McPherson says it can take time for patients to get back their full grip as the tendons get used to added space in the wrist. But he adds that most people with severe carpal tunnel have also been living with a deficient grip and the release eventually gives them the best grip possible. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.