CTS – Surgery

Question: Since realizing I probably have CTS I have gleaned bits and pieces on surgical procedures, from what I understand it is a very painful procedure (after the surgery has taken place). The other day I met a lady who is an Art Teacher, she works privately now, but had to give up teaching in Colleges due to diagnosed ME. She told me her friend had surgery for CTS, was back working within a week (though should not have been) and that he experience of pain was negligible.

Does anyone have experience of successful CTS surgery? (Before I seek surgery I will first ask my Doctor to refer me to Rheumatologist (hope have spelt correctly) to ensure I do have CTS, though all my symptoms seem to match data I have read on the condition.

Answer 1: On the other hand the woman who serves in the health food shop here had it done, and was pressurized back to work after a month, still in great pain, trying to do things with her left hand. A year later she says she still doesn’t have full functionality back.

Answer 2: Some people at a US University did a study on who remained “OK” after CTS surgery, and who “lapsed”. You can probably guess the finding: tenured professors who could get their typing done for them did just fine, people who had to go back to the same work got RSI again.  I don’t think there’s a site for this: I’ll see. Someone at that University told me about it.  Re pain etc., I have better news. There are better surgical techniques now.

Answer 3: I have a friend, a teacher, who went through successful surgery for CTS. She had the op done on her writing hand first, as this was worse than the other. She found the surgery more painful and traumatic than expected, despite local anaesthetic. She had to keep her hand up for a while afterwards, bandaged, to reduce the pain of recovering from surgery. She found it awkward to live one-handed. She said people helped her, e.g. at the supermarket checkout.

However as she lives alone, it was more disabling than CTS while healing was underway, especially during the first week or so.  Once healed she could grip better and write more easily, fairly soon, but it still took a while to reach normal hand usage. After that experience she has delayed surgery on the other wrist indefinitely!  My previous physio advised that some cases of CTS are misdiagnosed and the source of the problem is really further up.

Apparently that’s supposed to explain why some surgery isn’t successful. So second and third opinions are worth getting before diving in for surgery.


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