Symptoms reduced - should I have the operation?


I would appreciate an opinion. I've had Carpal tunnel symptoms, always variable - mild to bad, for a few years, plus several trigger digits, most right/dominant hand but also left. Injections have worked well, but eventual worn off. Autumn 2014 symptoms very bad/painful, could hardly write and shaking my hand out all day. Had electrical test at hospital and showed I was "Moderate" and was recommend for surgery. Surgeon said already some muscle wasting for both thumbs.

Operation is due to take place this Friday on right hand, carpal tunnel release & trigger thumb: at same time to duplicate the recovery time. However, due to a virus I've was unwell from early Dec til recently and not been doing any of my usual activities of lots of computer (a mouse clutcher while thinking, bad habit) and particularly no digging, hand weeding, pruning, strimming or other heavy work on my allotment and although my hands still feel stiff and a perception of a bit swollen, the overnight/early morning problems have stopped and writing has got easier.

Is this change just lack of recent heavy use tasks aggravating the problem or is something else going on and I should cancel the operation?

And if I do proceed, is it OK to do carpal tunnel & trigger thumb on the same hand at same time? If they need to be done, I'd rather be in pain/out of action once and do it now, but is a double op more problematic?

I have found this site very helpful for understanding carpal tunnel: thank you.


That's quitea tough call and obviously no-one can make that decision for you. I can try to give at least partial answers to some of the questions though.

It is perfectly possible that the relative rest of the last few weeks has allowed your CTS to improve. It might also be undergoing a spontaneous improvement anyway - it does sometimes.

I don't think there is any particular problem with doing both trigger digit and CTS at the same time.

The most useful thing to know would be exactly what your NCS showed and when - 'moderate' as a descriptive term is not very helpful as it is not used in any consistent way by different neurophysiology labs - one would need either the actual measurements or a formal grading such as my own or the Italian one. Armed with the Canterbury grade one can safely say that if it was grade 3 or below you do not need to rush into surgery while grade 4 or 5 should probably encourage you to go for the op. JB


Hi. Did you have the surgery?

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