Carpal tunnel decompression


Carpal tunnel decompression deals with the chronic pain and numbness which affects the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring fingers.


Surgery is recommended when the symptoms are longstanding, severe or persistently wake you at night or when they arise while performing simple tasks such as driving.

Preoperative Instructions

No specific pre-operative planning is required for this operation.


A small skin crease incision is made in the palm of your hand about 2.5 cm long. Under direct vision and magnification, the flexor retinaculum is exposed and incised along its length to release the median nerve from the forearm to the mid palm to relieve all possible sites of compression.

Postoperative Instructions

A compression dressing is applied and you may go home on the day of surgery. The bulky dressing can be removed the next day and replaced with a light dressing to keep the wound covered and dry. Your sutures will be removed at your post-operative visit and you can start using your hand quite normally then.


There are always some risks with any operation. The problems that may rarely arise after this surgery are blood clots, wound infection or perhaps there may be some damage to the median nerve or one of its branches. All these problems are exceedingly rare.

Treatment alternatives

By the time you have been advised to have surgery, you will have tried splints, injections and passive stretches. The compression commonly recurs despite these treatments and the only way to establish normal nerve function in a permanent way is by surgery.

Related Information

Carpal tunnel syndrome