Most patients with mild to moderate CTS can be treated without surgery. Wearing a splint that keeps the wrist in a neutral position during sleep is recommended. Losing weight and repetitive movements of the hand and wrist (e.g. prolonged typing, knitting, SMS-ing or writing short messages on the handphone) should be avoided. Steroid injection into the carpal tunnel provides immediate but temporary relief in some people.
If the symptoms are severe or if there is significant nerve damage, surgical decompression should be considered. This involves cutting the flexor retinaculum and increasing the space in the carpal tunnel. This is a simple, effective, outpatient procedure that is performed under local anaesthesia. Complications of surgery are uncommon and include wound infection, nerve damage, stiffness and a painful scar. Most patients report improvement of symptoms after surgery.
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