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Open Carpal Tunnel Decompression
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Open carpal tunnel decompression is surgery to take pressure off of the median nerve in your wrist. This is done through an incision on your palm that may extend to your wrist.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or hand specialist as directed:
You may need to return to have your stitches removed. Ask how long you need to wear your splint. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Physical and occupational therapy:
You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and strength. Physical therapy can also help decrease pain and loss of function. An occupational therapist can help you find ways to do work and other activities to reduce strain on your wrist.
Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your wrist for 15 to 20 minutes every hour.
Avoid pulling, lifting, or moving heavy objects until your primary healthcare provider says it is okay. Ask when you can return to work. Take time to rest your hand. If you work on a computer, rest your hand often. You may need to elevate your arm several times a day. This helps decrease pain and swelling.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or hand specialist if:
- You have a fever or chills.
- You feel weak or achy.
- You have pain, even after you take medicine.
- You have swelling, stiffness, or numbness in your fingers.
- Your finger becomes stuck in the same position.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your stitches come apart.
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- You cannot feel or move your hand.
- You feel a lump or swelling in your wrist.
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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.