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Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Decompression


Endoscopic carpal tunnel decompression is surgery to take pressure off of the median nerve in your wrist. A scope and small tools are put through 1 or 2 small incisions on your wrist or palm. A scope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end.


Before your surgery:

  • Ask someone to drive you home when you are ready to leave the hospital. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Your caregiver may do an x-ray to check the bone structure in your wrist and hand.
  • Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • Your hand will be placed on a table, cleaned, and covered with a sheet. Your caregiver will give you anesthesia medicine to help decrease the pain during your surgery. You may be given local anesthesia to numb your wrist and hand. You may also get regional anesthesia that numbs your arm or general anesthesia to keep you completely asleep. A cuff called a tourniquet may be put around your upper arm to decrease bleeding during your surgery.
  • Your caregiver will make 1 or 2 incisions on your wrist or palm. He will insert the endoscope with the camera through an incision to help guide him during surgery. Special tools may be put in your wrist to help protect the nerves. He will cut the ligament that is pressing on the nerve. The incision will be closed with stitches and covered with bandages. Your caregiver will then take off the tourniquet.

After your surgery:

A splint will be put on your wrist to keep the wrist from twisting or bending. You will stay in a room until you wake up and gain feeling in your arm. You will be asked to move your fingers soon after your surgery. Do not try to get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • The pain in your hand becomes worse.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have an infection or swelling in your hand or wrist.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You cannot feel or move your wrist or hand.
  • Your symptoms suddenly get worse.
  • You feel a lump on your wrist.


  • You may get an infection. Your skin may bruise. A thick, painful scar may form where you had surgery. You may get a trigger finger where your fingers are locked in a bent position. Surgery may cause long-term numbness or weakness in your fingers, hand, or wrist. Your symptoms may not go away, and you may need surgery again.
  • Without surgery, the symptoms of your CTS may get worse. You may not be able to work or do things you normally do. The muscles in your hand controlled by the compressed nerve may become smaller. You may not be able to feel or move your wrist.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.