Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through an opening from the wrist to the hand called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is formed by the carpal bones on the bottom of the wrist and the transverse carpal ligament across the top of the wrist. Since the median nerve provides sensory and motor functions to the thumb and three middle fingers, many symptoms may result including:
Most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome have no specific cause, although there are a few factors that may contribute to the condition:
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, electrodiagnostic tests involving stimulation of muscles and nerves are used to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.
Specific treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is based on:
Common carpal tunnel treatments include:
In certain cases, carpal tunnel treatment may require surgery to relieve compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel.
Surgeons in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Division of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital provide unique, innovative and comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management for carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to carpal tunnel syndrome, surgeons in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Hand and Upper Extremity Service and the Division of Plastic Surgery treat the full spectrum of diseases of the hand. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery also treats conditions of the upper extremity (shoulder, arm, elbow, and wrist), including fractures, tumors, ligament disruptions and tendonitis, helping thousands of patients every year.
BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care - involves systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our inpatient satisfaction survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the quality of patient care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.
If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our carpal tunnel syndrome experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request form.