In most cases carpal tunnel release (CTR) is performed as day case surgery under a local anaesthetic. This can sometimes be performed in the outpatient setting. This means you will be awake throughout the procedure, and able to go home almost as soon as it is finished. Watch the procedure (Warning Graphic Content)
The local anaesthetic with a small dose of adrenaline is normally given a few minutes before the operation but may be earlier as its effects will last several hours. This will numb the area and prevents the need for a torniquet during the operation.
In theatre your hand will be cleaned with an anti-septic solution. After that sterile sheets cover your arm and keep the hand clean.
You will be given some pain killers and a spare sticky dressing to take home. After 5 days take down the bulky dressing and change the sticky dressing if necessary. After a further 5 days take off the sticky dressing. At this stage you can get the wound wet and the remaining stitches should drop out in a few days
A cut is made on the hand as shown in the diagram. The surgeon will then proceed to release the fibrous roof of the carpal tunnel. The wound will be closed with dissolvable stitches, a sticky dressing and then a bulky bandage.