Patients who experience numbness and pain in their hands — the telltale symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome — can opt to have the condition treated with open surgery performed through an inch-long incision made on the palm of the hand or endoscopically through a 2 cm incision made at the base of the wrist. Both techniques are effective and reliable, but the endoscopic approach results in less post-op pain and leads to faster recoveries, according to Brad Hill, MD, a hand and upper extremity surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Dr. Hill says the open and endoscopic techniques show similar outcomes at six months after surgery. However, he adds, the endoscopic approach has been shown to improve patient satisfaction, especially among patients with bilateral disease, who Dr. Hill believes are the best candidates for the minimally invasive procedure. “If I were to perform open surgery on both hands, the patient would have difficulty bathing, brushing their teeth and using the toilet,” he explains. “Recovery is much smoother following endoscopic surgery.”