Non-surgical treatments include the use of splints, especially at night, and steroid injection into the carpal tunnel. CTS occurring in pregnancy often resolves after the baby is born.
Surgery is frequently required. The operation involves opening the roof of the tunnel to reduce the pressure on the nerve (see diagram: the roof of the carpal tunnel is called the flexor retinaculum). The most common method involves an incision over the tunnel at the wrist, opening the roof under direct vision. In an alternative keyhole method (endoscopic release) the roof is opened with instruments inserted through one or two small incisions. The outcomes of the two techniques are similar and your surgeon can discuss the most appropriate method. The surgery may be performed under local anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia (injected at the shoulder to numb the entire arm) or general anaesthesia.
The outcome is usually a satisfactory resolution of the symptoms. Night pain and tingling usually disappear within a few days. In severe cases, improvement of constant numbness and muscle weakness may be slow or incomplete. It generally takes about three months to regain full strength and a fully comfortable scar.