Carpal tunnel

Has anyone with Rheumatoid wrists had carpal tunnel surgery ? and did it help?. I've been referred but am wondering how effective it can be if your wrists still get inflamed.

Also, the risk of infection must be greater with immunosuppression - also I think I may be looking for an excuse, as a convinced coward.

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  • Yes and yes. I had this op on the base of my right hand, many years ago now, the pain before was unbearable, and it was a success. Went on to have more surgery on my knuckles further down the line because of erosive RA, but know more problems with carpel tunnel. Hope this helps. Good luck. X

  • Thanks for your reassurance Gigi x

  • I had carpal tunnel release on my left ulnar back in January 2013 & it's been successful, no CT problems since. Whilst it's a full theatre job, or mine was, the cut is only about 3cm long & as it was done at the top of my life line the scar's melded into that crease so it's not noticeable at all. I didn't have it done in the UK but the risk of infection in my case was very small given how super careful with such things in Spain. Once I went to the 2 bed ward I had to wash my entire arm in Hibiscrub then the nurses washed the whole arm again with another alcohol-based wash with what looked like oversized cotton buds. My arm was then put in a plastic bag & secured at the top of my arm & my wrist. Once I'd been wheeled down to the anteroom the bag was taken off & wiped with alcohol again. Once in theatre a tourniquet was wrapped round my upper arm & my wrist area covered in PVP-I & then I was given a local anaesthetic. After that I couldn't see anything because they put a sheet between me, the surgeon & his sidekick. Shame because I wouldn't have minded watching!

    The op took just short of half an hour, there was a wall clock in front of me so I was able to time it. Once done it was wrapped in bandages & I was wheeled on a bed back to the ward. That was the worst bit of the whole experience because they wheeled me backwards & I don't do backwards. Then we got stuck in the lift, it stopped short of the floor by about 6" so we'd to wait for 2 burly men to manhandle the bed out. All this time I was feeling terribly nauseous & once back in the room I was sick. They wouldn't let me leave until I'd eaten the sandwich & yoghurt they brought. There was no way I could so once the nurse left the room my h ate them. They allowed me to go home once my colour returned.

    I'd to have it in a sling for a good few days & they gave me an appointment for about a week later, the neurosurgeon checked it & replaced the bandage. About a week later the nurse at my Practice checked it & took out the stitches, dressed it & after a few days I took that dressing off & it had healed beautifully.

    The relief was immediate, no more pain, pins & needles or dead arm. I've had trigger finger in the same hand since but the carpal tunnel's never returned.

    Honestly, apart from wheeling me backwards it was nothing of a job & I would guess I'd have been home after a couple of hours otherwise. My right hand also showed I had CT in that but it was only mild compared with my left. I'd not hesitate having it done on the right though if it gets to the stage of also needing release.

  • Thanks for such a detailed reply - very reassuring. Kind of you to take the time

  • I had both of my carpal tunnels done at the same time, plus two trigger finger releases and a cubital tunnel release. It was not a problem at all. The carpal tunnel op is a very common operation and it works fantastically well. If you have a good consultant - get in done- you won't believe how much your hands/wrists will benefit.

    Muffin.

  • Thanks Muffin.

  • Hi--- I was very lucky with my severe bi- lateral carpal tunnel. Once I was diagnosed with RD and the meds began to work the inflammation around my wristson was reduced and the pain went away. I still get it slightly when I am flaring but it's bearable. 😊

  • I'm still hoping - replies have been very reassuring but I always feel no surgery is better if not really needed

  • Yes and yes! I've been typing for over 57 years and you'd never know I have Rheumatoid Arthritis by the appearance of my hands, which is probably why RhA was not diagnosed until 2016!

    In 2015 I'd had simultaneous surgeries for Carpal Tunnel and De Quervain's Syndrome on my left hand, and 11 years earlier I had my first surgery on that hand to release the 'trigger' of my middle finger.

    I would not hesitate for a second to proceed if my right hand suffered similar issues: my fingers are the most nimble parts of this decrepit old bird!

  • Thanks for your reply Dodo. I'm feeling much more positive now!

  • Morning janmary

    I had carpal tunnel release done on my left wrist and elbow many years ago long before I was ever diagnosed with RA so cant comment on its effectiveness now .having said that with RA the pain is supposed to be felt on both sides of the body and I can honestly say that any pain I have in my right wrist is a lot more than that in my left

    Whether that is down to any improvement the carpal tunnel op brought ir whether its just coincidence.

    Whatever You decide hope it goes well.

    Crusee

    XX

  • Thanks Crusee

    My RA has never (yet) been symmetrical. I'm glad the carpal tunnel has been so successful for you.

  • Interested to see this as I also have bilateral carpal tunnel and am waiting for orthopod apptmt to find out if they will operate, however GP told me they may make me wait until they get RA (or whatever it is causing the rest of my problems) under control so they can be more sure of predicting a good outcome. I've heard in some NHS areas they won't operate unless you try the injections into your wrist first (cheaper), but the man who tested me for CT (nerve conduction) told me the injections are a waste of time as have a very low success rate compared to surgery.

  • Hello Blighty,

    My Rheumatologist didn't advise surgery until the RA was better controlled, and I had injections a couple of times which were very successful, but I understand that if you keep having steroid jabs it may do more harm than good.

    Thanks for your reply

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