Carpal tunnel syndrome “is a very common disease that affects a great part of the population and is very annoying,” said Dr. Luciana Marzella, of the Orthopaedic Unit expert in Hand Surgery, on the occasion of an interview.
It is a pathology that involves the so-called “carpal tunnel”, a channel of the wrist in which the median nerve and the nine flexor tendons of the fingers, which go from the forearm to the hand, pass. “The increase in pressure on the nerve or its crushing are at the origin of this syndrome. When the nerve becomes forced it suffers and the first disorder perceived by the patient are small discharges that lead to tingling,” explained the doctor.
Symptoms of the carpal tunnel syndrome
The carpal tunnel syndrome initially does not generate a real pain but, as anticipated, a tingling in the wrist that often occurs at night. As the disease continues, this discomfort may also affect the arm and shoulder, and in more advanced cases, a motor deficit may also occur. Weaknesses in the hand and fingers can even reduce the ability to grasp objects firmly.
“When the nerve worsens and degenerates, sensitivity and therefore strength are progressively lost: many patients tell us that taking a plate falls from their hands,” said the doctor. “The fingers most affected by numbness and tingling are the thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger, but not the little finger.
Diagnosis and treatment
The most common examination to check the state of health of the median nerve is the electromyography, which evaluates muscles and nerves.
Once the diagnosis has been verified, “when we are faced with an important symptomatology, we need to operate surgically – explained the doctor – we can perform classic “open” operations, with a real incision of the palm – those that we normally practice or minimally invasive operations in which we make a small incision, less than 1 cm at the wrist and from which we decompress the nerve”.
“The mini-invasive operations allow a much faster recovery, already the same day the patient can move, open and close the fingers and use the hand already an hour after surgery,” concluded Marzella.