- It often occurs as pain, numbness and tingling in the palm of the hand and fingers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common diseases among workers who perform tasks related to manual efforts and repetitive movements of the arm and affects 3% of the population, mainly women in their 40s and 60s. “This Neuropathy”, says Dr. Vicente Carratalá. head of the Hand and Arm Unit of Quirónsalud Valencia Hospital, “occurs when the median nerve that extends from the forearm to the hand is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. This disorder is very common in people who carry out activities that need flexion and repetitive extension of the wrist mainly in household chores, work on assembly lines, carpenters, painters or prolonged use of the computer mouse.
According to Dr. Luís Sánchez Navas, head of the Hand and Arm Unit of Quirónsalud Alicante, the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include “the feeling of pain, tingling and numbness in the palm of the hand and in the thumb, index and middle fingers, which frequently worsens at night, and may wake up the patient feeling the need to take the hand out from the sheets and shake it, seeking relief. With the worsening of the compression of the Median Nerve these symptoms become more intense and a feeling of clumsiness and lack of strength when performing pincer gestures begins to appear due to an atrophy of the muscles dependent on this nerve.”
One of the peculiar features of this disease is the delay in its diagnosis, as Dr. Sánchez Navas explains, “patients tend to assume their symptoms, the electromyographic test usually takes a long time to be performed, and the results do not always match well with the intensity of clinical symptoms. As a result of this, patients go to the specialist when the condition is already severe, obtaining slower and less satisfactory surgical results, as the nerve must recover from severe and prolonged compression.”
One of the most significant advances in the treatment of this neuropathy has been the approach using minimally invasive techniques, including endoscopic techniques, being able to release the nerve throughout its path through the wrist by making just a one centimetre incision with a minimum involvement of the soft tissues, which leads to least discomfort in the postoperative period, with minimal pain and almost immediate mobility. As Dr. Vicente Carratalá explains, “this new technique represents a great advance in the surgery of this type of disease as opposed to traditional surgery, where the procedure required a longer incision in the palm of the hand with greater involvement of the soft tissues and longer recovery time due to the pain caused by this approach.”
Benchmarks in the treatment of hand and arm injuries
The Hand and Arm Units of Quirónsalud Alicante and Valencia, have experts in minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of joint injuries such as arthroscopy, both wrist and hand, including rhizarthrosis or arthrosis of the base of the thumb, elbow and shoulder, which allows an optimal and precise treatment of ligament and tendon injuries that may appear. They are also specialists in regenerative therapies such as the eco-guided infiltration of platelet growth factors in tendon and muscle injuries.
Arthroscopy is a technique for the treatment of joint injuries with the aid of a camera and minimal incisions. This offers the great advantage of being able to explore the joint in its entirety, without depending on the limited field obtained with conventional open surgery, working with magnification and having state-of-the-art materials and implants, through which the lesion can be treated very precisely without the need for aggressive surgery or large incisions. This is highly beneficial for the subsequent recovery of the patient. Also, the fact that working together in a coordinated manner with traumatologists, rehabilitators and physiotherapists, regardless of the injury requiring surgery or otherwise, provides a significant advantage in the early recovery of injuries.