Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common wrist condition that affects millions of Americans. It's known as an overuse injury or chronic condition that most often impacts those who regularly perform tasks that require repetitive motions in the wrist, such as typing or painting.
Over time, chronic pressure develops around the median nerve in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the passageway for the median nerve along the palmar side of the wrist. When the carpal tunnel is constricted, usually due to swelling in wrist structures like the transverse carpal ligament, the median nerve is compressed. This compression leads to pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand, fingers, and sometimes, the arm.
When left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can significantly limit strength and function in the hand and wrist and disrupt daily life. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with carpal tunnel release (CTR) if conservative measures do not alleviate symptoms. Traditionally, this procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and while it resolves carpal tunnel syndrome, it also leaves scars and requires significant recovery time.
Fellowship-trained, board-certified hand surgeon Joao (Joe) Panattoni, M.D., offers CTR procedures using the state-of-the-art system called the SX-One MicroKnife®. This technology offers a safe and microinvasive alternative to more invasive surgeries of the carpal tunnel.
What are the benefits of microinvasive carpal tunnel release procedures?
Using the ultrasound-guided SX-One MicroKnife, microinvasive carpal tunnel release (CTR) goes beyond minimally invasive surgery and offers the following features:
- Performed conveniently in an office setting
- Local anesthesia can be used instead of general anesthesia
- The small incision is typically closed without the need for sutures
- Can reduce or eliminate the need for opioids
- Postoperative therapy is typically not needed, which saves time and money
- Immediate mobility in the hand for rapid recovery
- Return to normal activity in days instead of months
The low-profile SX-One MicroKnife uses technology developed by physicians at the Mayo Clinic. It is designed to perform CTR surgery through a single micro-incision (4 – 5 mm) under ultrasound guidance, while protecting sensitive anatomy when releasing the transverse carpal ligament (TCL). As with traditional CTR surgery, the surgeon will cut, or transect, the TCL to relieve nerve pressure.
The SX-One MicroKnife used in this procedure enables your surgeon to perform CTR through an extra small incision—an incision so tiny that it can usually be closed with a small adhesive bandage or strip instead of needing sutures. Other carpal tunnel procedures, especially open surgery, require larger incisions and longer recoveries.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and may use local anesthesia. It has been associated with reduced postoperative and long-term pain as well as rapid recoveries. Most patients can return to normal activity in 3 to 6 days.
Is microinvasive carpal tunnel release right for me?
If surgical treatment is indicated for your condition, you may be a good candidate for this surgery, especially if general anesthesia poses the risk of complications to your health. Younger and older patients can benefit from this treatment, and your surgeon will be able to determine if this option will work best for you based on your diagnosis, overall health, and lifestyle needs and goals.
This form of minimally invasive carpal tunnel surgery is a great option for patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome but have hesitated to seek treatment due to the intimidation of surgery, long recovery time, or costs associated with current treatment options.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be addressed with nonsurgical treatments. These include splinting or bracing, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and injections. Dr. Panattoni will work closely with you to ensure you get the care plan you need.
Why choose Vero Orthopaedics?
As a fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopaedic hand surgeon, Dr. Joao (Joe) Panattoni offers the highest level of compassionate, personalized care for hand and wrist injuries and conditions. He has an intimate knowledge of the nerves, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage of the entire upper extremity as well as how to repair damage, relieve symptoms of pain and limitation, and restore function. In addition to traditional hand and wrist treatments, Dr. Panattoni has extensive experience with microsurgery and less invasive procedures for the hand and wrist, and he is the first surgeon in the area and one of the first three surgeons in the state to offer carpal tunnel surgery using the SX-One MicroKnife.
To find out if you're a candidate for microinvasive carpal tunnel release surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Panattoni in Vero Beach or Sebastian by calling (772) 569-2330 or scheduling an appointment online.