Carpal Tunnel Surgery Malpractice Lawyer
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome result from pressure on a nerve called the median nerve. The median nerve is one of the main nerves providing sensation and movement to the hand and fingers. The median nerve originates in the shoulder area and travels down the arm, through the wrist, and into the hand.
The wrist is an anatomical tunnel. This anatomical tunnel is called the carpal tunnel. Like any tunnel, the carpal tunnel has a floor, walls, and a roof. The floor and walls of the carpal tunnel are made of many small bones. These bones are called the carpal bones. The roof of the carpal tunnel is made of a thick and rigid ligament called the transverse carpal ligament. Click here for a medical illustration of the carpal tunnel.
The median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel on its way to the hand and fingers. Also travelling through the carpal tunnel are nine separate tendons. These are the tendons that enable the fingers to move. All these structures passing through the carpal tunnel make the tunnel a crowded place. Any amount of abnormal swelling in the wrist can cause the median nerve to be pressed up against the roof of the carpal tunnel, the thick and rigid transverse carpal ligament. This pressing of the median nerve against the ligament causes abnormal pressure on the nerve. If the pressure becomes too great, the median nerve begins to malfunction, causing the tingling, numbness, pain, and weakness in the thumb, index, and middle fingers that is carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, you should know about your treatment options. There are several non-surgical treatment options, including rest, splinting of the wrist, and drug therapy. Click here for more information concerning the non-surgical treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is considered the treatment option of last resort, that is, it is typically considered only after the non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted. Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is called "carpal tunnel release" surgery. This surgery involves the cutting or dividing of the transverse carpal ligament. Remember that the thick and rigid transverse carpal ligament forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. By cutting this ligament into two pieces, the carpal tunnel is opened and the pressure on the median nerve is relieved. Click here for a medical illustration showing the divided transverse carpal ligament.
Although all carpal tunnel release surgery involves the cutting of the transverse carpal ligament into two pieces, surgeons have developed many different ways to accomplish this cutting. The two main ways of cutting the transverse carpal ligament are called the "open" technique and the "endoscopic" technique. Surgeons who use the open technique will make a longitudinal incision over the transverse carpal ligament and will cut the ligament under direct vision. Click here for a medical illustration of the open technique. Click here for a video showing the open technique being performed. Surgeons using the endoscopic technique will make a small incision in the palm and another at the wrist. They then insert an endoscope into the carpal tunnel and cut the transverse carpal ligament from below. Click here for a medical illustration of the endoscopic technique, and here for a video showing the endoscopic technique being performed.
As with any surgery, carpal tunnel release surgery is not without risks. There are several surgical injuries that can occur during carpal tunnel release, some very serious. One of the most significant surgical injuries that can occur during carpal tunnel release is laceration or severing of the median nerve. A laceration or severing of the median nerve can result in permanent nerve damage and permanent loss of sensation and function of the hand. Click here for more information concerning the surgical injuries that can occur during carpal tunnel release surgery.
If you are considering carpal tunnel release surgery you should find out what technique your surgeon will use to perform the surgery. You should also find out how many times your surgeon has performed carpal tunnel release surgery over his or her career, and how many times per month over the last two years. Most important, you should find out how many times your surgeon has caused a surgical injury during carpal tunnel release. Surgeons typically refer to surgical injuries as "complications". Ask your surgeon how many times he has experienced complications during or after a carpal tunnel release. Also ask your surgeon what those complications were and what caused them. If your surgeon tells you that he or she has inflicted median or other nerve injury during a carpal tunnel release procedure, you probably should consider looking for another surgeon.
The attorneys at Berger & Lagnese have a wealth of experience handling medical negligence cases for persons who suffered surgical injury during carpal tunnel release surgery.
If you suspect that you suffered a surgical injury during a carpal tunnel release procedure, please call us at 412-471-4300, or click here. Berger & Lagnese, lawyers specializing in medical malpractice, work on cases in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Uniontown, Beaver Erie, Washington, and all courts in Western Pennsylvania.