01 Nov Things You Need To Know About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the first three fingers of the hand go numb/ experience paresthesia. This is due to a compression of the median nerve which is located at the wrist. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is listed as a type of upper extremity peripheral neuropathy. This is so as the patients who are diagnosed by the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have numbness in their fingers or hands (parts of the upper limb) because of the compression of certain nerves, either with or without muscle weakness.
There are various different bodily sections along the upper extremity where the nerves of that area can become compressed. This would lead to a functional hand problem of numbness or weakness. Diabetic patients often have these symptoms despite optimal medical care.
Symptoms and things to watch:
A few other examples of Upper Extremity Peripheral Neuropathies are of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome which is the numbness or paresthesia experienced in the 4th & 5th fingers or hand weakness due to ulnar nerve compression at the elbow, Radial Nerve Compression where there is pain in the forearm with weakness in hand dorsiflexion or finger extension due to radial nerve / posterior interosseous nerve compression at the proximal anterolateral forearm, and ‘Thoracic Outlet Syndrome’ which is the compression of brachial plexus affecting arm circulation upon arm elevation or causing numbness, pain or paresthesias of upper extremity/hand due to cervical rib or traction stretch injury of plexus nerves.
Understanding the distinction:
Lower Extremity Peripheral Neuropathies have almost the exact similarities with Upper Extremity Peripheral Neuropathies. The only difference is that in the Lower extremity peripheral neuropathies, the numbness and weakness due to nerve compression occur in the lower limbs of the body, such as legs and feet. Some examples of Lower Extremity Peripheral Neuropathies are Meralgia paresthetica, Peroneal nerve compression and Tibial Nerve / Tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery and what it entails:
In order to take care of the Lower and Upper Extremity Peripheral Neuropathies, the patients undergo Nerve Decompression Surgery which, as the name suggests, relieves pressure from the several compressed nerves that cause numbness and weakness. A small incision is made over the problem area after the patient is given a general anesthesia. In order to reduce blood loss, a tourniquet is used so as to control the venous and arterial circulation. After the compressed nerve is located, the anatomical structures which lie over the nerve are incised resulting in a release of tight fascial bands and tissues or vessels which were pressing on the nerve.
The Nerve Decompression Surgery takes about an average of one hour to perform and the dressings are removed, on average, in one week, while sutures are removed about three weeks after surgery. Patients’ recovery are different from patient to patient but it usually takes about two-three weeks. This can vary depending on several aspects such as the type of professional work done, the age of the patient, co-morbidities, and more.