How Long Does Carpal Tunnel Surgery Take


Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm.

When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, carpal tunnel surgery may be recommended.

If you’re considering this procedure, you may be wondering how long it takes.

In this article, I will explore the duration of carpal tunnel surgery, along with other important aspects of the procedure.


What is Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel surgeries, also known as carpal tunnel release, is a surgical procedure that aims to relieve the pressure on the median nerve by enlarging the carpal tunnel.

The goal of the surgery is to alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and improve hand function.

Preparing for Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Before undergoing carpal tunnel surgery, you will have a consultation with a specialist who will evaluate your condition and discuss the procedure with you.

Diagnostic tests, such as nerve conduction studies, may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition.

You will also receive pre-operative instructions to follow, such as fasting before the surgery and avoiding certain medications.

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Types of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Surgical Technique

Carpal Tunnel Surgery Cost

Open Carpal Tunnel Release $1,500 – $3,000
Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release $2,000 – $4,000
Mini-Open Carpal Tunnel Release $1,800 – $3,500
Single-Incision Endoscopic Technique $2,200 – $4,500

Carpal Tunnel Surgery Procedure – Step-by-Step

The surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and involves the following steps:

  • The patient is given anesthesia, either local or general.
  • The surgeon makes an incision in the palm of the hand or wrist, depending on the type of surgery being performed.
  • The surgeon separates the tissues to expose the carpal tunnel.
  • The surgeon cuts the transverse carpal ligament, which is the tissue that is compressing the median nerve.
  • The surgeon may also remove any scar tissue that is constricting the nerve.
  • The surgeon closes the incision with stitches or staples.
  • The patient is given a splint or brace to immobilize the wrist and hand.
  • The patient is discharged from the hospital the same day or the day after surgery.

Duration of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

The duration of carpal surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the technique used, the severity of the condition, and the individual patient.

On average, the procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour. However, variations in surgical time can occur based on the complexity of the case and the surgeon’s experience.

Carpal Tunnel Surgery Recovery and Rehabilitation

The recovery time after carpal surgery varies from person to person. In general, it takes about 2-6 weeks to return to light activities such as typing and driving.

It may take up to 12 months to fully recover and regain full strength and function in the hand.

During the first few days after surgery, you will need to keep your hand elevated and avoid using it as much as possible. You will also need to wear a splint or brace for support.

As you recover, you will gradually be able to increase your activity level. However, it is important to listen to your body and not overdo it.

Carpal Tunnel Surgery Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, carpal surgery carries some risks. These can include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and scar tissue formation.

However, these complications are relatively rare, and measures are taken to minimize their occurrence.

It is important to discuss the potential risks with your surgeon before undergoing the procedure.

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Carpal Tunnel Surgery Success Rate

Carpal tunnel surgery has a high success rate in relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Most individuals experience significant improvement in pain, numbness, and hand function after the procedure.

Long-term outcomes are generally favorable, with a low recurrence rate of symptoms.


The carpal tunnel is an effective treatment option for individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome who have not found relief from conservative treatments.

The duration of the surgery can vary but typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour.

Recovery and rehabilitation are important aspects of the postoperative period, and most individuals experience significant improvement in symptoms and functionality.

If you are considering carpal surgery, consult with a specialist to determine if it is the right option for you.

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How Long Does Carpal Tunnel Surgery Take – FAQs

Is carpal tunnel surgery painful?

While some discomfort is expected after the procedure, pain can be managed with medication.

How long does it take to recover from carpal surgery?

Recovery time can vary, but most individuals can resume light activities within a few days to a week.

Can tunnel syndrome come back after surgery?

While recurrence is possible, it is relatively rare.

Are there any alternatives to surgery for tunnel syndrome?

Conservative treatments such as splinting and corticosteroid injections may provide relief for some individuals.

Can carpal surgery be performed under local anesthesia?

Yes, carpal surgery can be performed under local anesthesia in some cases.

How long does the scar from carpal surgery take to heal?

The scar from carpal surgery typically takes several weeks to several months to fully heal.

Will I regain full hand strength after carpal surgery?

While hand strength may not fully return to pre-surgery levels, most individuals experience significant improvement in hand function after carpal surgery.

What should I expect during the recovery period?

During the recovery period, you may experience some discomfort, swelling, and stiffness in the hand and wrist. 

How soon can I return to work after carpal surgery?

The time it takes to return to work after carpal surgery can vary depending on the individual’s job requirements and the extent of the surgery.

What are the potential complications of carpal tunnel ?

Potential complications of carpal tunnel include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and scar tissue formation.

Can carpal surgery be performed on an outpatient basis?

Yes, carpal tunnel can be performed on an outpatient basis in many cases.

How successful is carpal tunnel surgery?

Carpal tunnel has a high success rate in relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

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