Post surgery numbness and pain

Annepan
User offline. Last seen 1 year 38 weeks ago. Offline

It has been two weeks since my carpel tunnel release and having had my other hand done over 2 years ago I am extremely worried about the progress.

My thumb, index finger, half of my middle finger and a third of my palm are numb and I am experiencing electrifying pain in those fingers. I asked my surgeon if my median nerve could of been damaged during surgery and was advised that no it wasn't and these symptoms are quite normal and yet I had full sensation back in my other hand within 2 days and my other hand pre op was worse.

Can someone please advise if they had this numbness and pain and if so did you recover?

Thank you.

jeremydpbland
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 23 min ago. Offline

I'm not sure what your surgeon means by 'normal' - I think most people would take this as meaning the experience of the majority of patients in the same situation and your current symptoms are certainly not that. On the other hand he may simply mean that he thinks your current symptoms are within the range of acceptable experience after surgery. For myself I would worry about these symptoms 2 weeks after surgery and I would normally try to reassess such patients with repeat nerve conduction studies and ultrasound imaging as soon as possible.JB

Annepan
User offline. Last seen 1 year 38 weeks ago. Offline

Dear JB

Thank you for your response, I will contact my surgeon on Monday and request nerve conduction tests and an ultrasound immediately.

Kind regards

Anne

jeremydpbland
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 23 min ago. Offline

Depending on where you are you may or may not find it easy to track down a doctor with the requisite expertise in ultrasound imaging of peripheral nerves and interest in carpal tunnel syndrome. Let me know how you get on please as there is still considerable uncertainty about how soon after surgery one should start to take persisting symptoms seriously. JB

Martin J K W
User offline. Last seen 14 weeks 2 days ago. Offline

Hi Annepan

I had my carpal tunnel release on 16th August this year and my post op symptoms are very similar to yours. Dr Bland has carried out ultrasound, and two nerve conduction studies since my op and they have both shown an increase from grade 3 before my op to 5 post op. I am now waiting for another operation to investigate what has happened.

It may be useful for you to read my postings on the Canterbury Patients Forum, although it won't give you any answers.

Martin j k w

jeremydpbland
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 23 min ago. Offline

Between the two of you that is almost enough for a case series. Hopefully we will get progress reports from both of you on here. JB

Annepan
User offline. Last seen 1 year 38 weeks ago. Offline

Dear JB

Thank you for your advise re: nerve conductivity testing and ultrasound imaging.

I can confirm that I have severe nerve damage and the ultra sound image was inconclusive. The Dr at the imaging clinic sent me to the emergency department of Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Perth WA, who made an appointment for me to see a Mr Angus Keogh.

Mr Keogh did a thorough examination and sent me for a MRI. The MRI showed a 9mm cut across 50% of the median nerve.

Tomorrow I undergo surgery, best case scenario is that the MRI was wrong and they just correct the CTR however the surgery has been scheduled to remove a nerve from the top of my foot and graft it onto my median nerve, they will also remove the tendon from my left hand ring finger and place it in my thumb as I have lost the ability to grip.

If you send me an email address I will send you copies of my reports:

I would like to say to other people reading this comment that given a choice of surgery again I would thoroughly investigate the surgeon, this incident is rare and should not put people off surgery to correct CTR. I have had my other hand done with fantastic results.

Kind regards

Anne McDonald

jeremydpbland
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 23 min ago. Offline

Thankyou for the update, and for anyone else reading, accidental cuts to the median nerve during carpal tunnel surgery are a known complication of this operation but fortunately are indeed very rare. Slightly more common than a cut to the main median nerve is injury to just the branch which goes to the thumb muscles - I have seen six of those out of more than 6000 operations but never an injury like the one described here - if that is what it turns out to be.

The images from ultrasound are usually better than those from MRI for the median nerve at the wrist but for both techniques what you get out of them is more about the experience of the person looking at the pictures than about the method used. If you are happy to share them with me I would find the reports interesting - my email address is in the contacts page here - and of course the findings at re-operation will also be interesting.

One final question. Did you have nerve conduction studies before surgery so that they were able to make a comparison with the post-operative ones? JB

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