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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Problems after CTS Surgery

    I had CTS in both hands, 1st surgery was August, 2006(rt hand) and 2nd was November, 2006(lt hand). Since the surgery the numbness has gone away but my hands are sooooooo weak. I have trouble doing small things like opening up a bottle or picking up small objects. I can't tolerate to hold a pen in my hand and write for very long nor am I able to type for any length of time. My typing speed went from 85 wpms to 52 wpm on a good day. The doctor gave me a cortizone injection in my left elbow in August, 2007 because I was having pain in my forearm and elbow. He stated that it was from the weakness in my hands and that I was compensating for that. Now I am having trouble in both arms, pain in the wrist and palms of my hands and my thumbs, index fingers and middle fingers are stiff especially in the mornings. Is this normal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Problems after CTS Surgery

    Hello. I happend to see the heading of your post and of course became concerned.I am so sorry you are having so much trouble.
    I am currently waiting for one of two insurance companies to decide who is going to help pay for my CTS. I have not had the surgery yet.
    I hope you don't mind me asking you some questions.
    What level of CTS did your EMG show before your surgery?(mild/moderate/severe)
    Did they do xrays of your hands and wrists to be sure there was no bone issue creating or adding to your CTS?
    Did you still have full strength in both hands before the surgery?
    Which type of surgery did they do on you? (Open or endoscopic?)
    Did you have any PT after your surgery?
    Did you return to so the exact same job you did that created the CTS to begin with?
    I have seen more than one doctor about this whole ordeal.
    The doctor that was on my work list was pretty thorough in explaining what was happening in my hands and what to expect with and after the surgery.
    I am already having the forearm, thumb, wrist and palm of hand pain. I also have lost a great deal of hand power. My hand muscles have atrophy in them.

    This doctor did xrays and has a new EMG scheduled as he felt the one I had before was to old and it has gotten much worse. My xrays were fine. There was no bone issues to create the problem. That left just the tendons swelling to cause the nerve injury.

    The doctor explained to me that the CT release surgery was only going to open up the tunnel sort of like a tent to give the tendons more room and get the pressure off the nerves to my hands.
    As long as the nerves were not permanantly damaged they will be able to properly feed my hand muscles again. I will have to work very hard but I will be able to rebuild the muscles and regain my hand strength.
    He explained that the surgery WILL NOT stop the tendon pain in the forarms and base of thumbs. That is from tendonitis. My chronic overuse caused the tendonitis that caused the tendons to swell and become inflammed that then pinched off the nerves to my hand because they can't all fit through the tunnel in that state.
    Making the tunnel bigger doesn't cure the tendonitis it simply releases the pressure on the nerves. I will still have to look for another job that does not require me to work like a lunatic at break neck speeds or they will never heal.
    The other doctor I saw didn't give me much hope at all about regaining much of my strength. He said it is to severe for him to in good conscience tell me I can be 100% ever again.He doesn't want to give me false hope and then have me come back to him and call him a liar.
    He feels the nerves have been compressed to long and atrophy is extremely hard to come back from. I am currently choosing to hope the nerve damage is not permanant and I can get my hands back to the way I had them before.
    It sounds like you are still sufferring the tendonitis part of your ordeal in the least. If you can answer any of the questions I have asked you perhaps we can reason together to figure out how to help you get better too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Problems after CTS Surgery

    The EMG showed moderate to severe CTS and yes they did xrays of my hands but didn't say much about it. I had quite a bit of strength in both hands before my surgery but now it is like night and day. Picking up a coffee mug is a chore. I had the open surgery per my surgeons advice. He stated he perferred that over the endoscopic because he was better able to see what he was doing. I had months and months of PT then they would discharge me and I would have to go back for months on end. As far as my job yes I sort of went back to what I was doing but I couldn't tolerate computer work as much. Still my hands get soooooo tired after a very short period of time, like I'm doing good if I can type for 10 minutes at a time. The business I was working for closed in March of this year so I have had plenty of time for my hands to rest but they aren't getting any better. According to the physical therapist the muscles in pad of my thumbs and my arms have at atrophied. The doctor I saw never once told me that any of this would be happening to my hands and forearms. He told me that the weakness and the pain in the palms of my hands would get better after one year and that has not happened. I got the feeling back in my fingers within a few months of surgery but this pain is not going away and I can't even sleep at night. There is not one minute of the day that I don't hurt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    2,169

    Default Re: Problems after CTS Surgery

    Mark, read the list of symptoms at this web-site, and if it applies to you, then speak to your Doctor ASAP about RSD, which can develope after carpal tunnel surgery:

    www.rsds.org

    In addition, did the EMG include evaluation of the ULNAR nerves in your elbows? The symptoms of ulnar neuropathy compression can also affect your hand muscles, pinch/grip strength and cause atrophy of the thenar muscle (in the "web" between you thumb and index finger) and the intrinsic muscles in the palm of your hands. Ulnar compression can be caused by resting the elbows on a hard surface and/or having your elbows in a bent, "cramped"and awkward position for prolonged periods of time.
    Last edited by Charles Stevens; 11-29-2007 at 10:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Problems after CTS Surgery

    I am sorry I couldn't check in last night. My computer is down and I have to borrow my daughters till I can get it fixed right.
    I feel so bad for you. Have you read the difference between the two surgeries? Sadly it seems to be harder to come back from the open release. I am still doing research on both types.
    I have read that some surgeons do and some do not sew the ligament back together after they cut it. Why they wouldn't sew it back together is insane to me. After all a ligamanent is an essential support. I am still struggling to grasp how in the world anyone could ever regain their strength if they ligmanent is permanantly severed. Do you know if they sewed yours back together or if they left it completely cut? I am dead sure I will not allow them to do that type of release on me.
    After my last surgery and never being told of ALL the risks involved and then sufferring through some of the most devastating and life threatening I am BEYOND afraid of letting someone operate on me unless I am dead sure I know every single tiny thing they are going to do and I am dead sure I am aware of every single possible risk.Perhaps a bit overboard but just the way it is for me now.
    Sadly I had to come here to be told the risk of RSD fromCTS and CTS surgery even though I should have been told by the doctors. Please do also check into that and see if that also many be part of your problem. Apparently it is rare for a doctor to warn you about that, probably because so few recognize the condition.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Problems after CTS Surgery

    I know it has been awhile since you posted your reply but wanted you to know that they have diagnosed me with RSD/CRPS. This sucks big time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Problems after CTS Surgery

    I just read that you had CTS surgery and now have been diagnosed with RSD/CRPS. I was going to suggest that you be evaluated for it since your symptoms sounded like RSD. Sorry to hear that you have this terrible condition. I also have it since about 9/08. I had tendon repair and ulnar nerve decompression in 8/08 and suffered complications. Had another ulnar decompression and transposition on 10/08. Have full-blown RSD in left hand/arm. I do have a lot of suggestions if you can tell me where you are at with it.

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