Wide Awake Hand Surgery
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve issue that can make it difficult or uncomfortable to use your hand. If nonsurgical therapies are not successful, you may need a carpal tunnel release procedure.
At Henry Ford, you have access to leading care close to home, including wide awake hand surgery. You stay awake and comfortable during the procedure while our trusted surgeons relieve stubborn symptoms. With wide awake hand surgery, you remain comfortable during the procedure without anesthesia. And most patients regain use of their hand in less time.
What is carpal tunnel release? What is wide awake hand surgery?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow, fixed space in your wrist through which tendons and a nerve pass. The tendons can become swollen from too much activity, putting pressure on the nerve. You may experience pain, weakness or a pins-and-needles sensation. Carpal tunnel release relieves nerve pressure by dividing a nearby ligament.
With wide awake hand surgery, we use local anesthesia, which numbs only the surgical area. You are awake and alert for the procedure but experience no discomfort. You receive services in a procedure room instead of the operating room. Recovery is typically faster than other surgical techniques, and you likely won’t need hand therapy.
Wide awake hand surgery at Henry Ford: Why choose us?
Henry Ford is home to highly skilled hand surgeons who treat a high volume of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and other common conditions. This level of experience means you receive the best therapies for your medical needs and personal preferences.
Highlights of our program include:
- Careful treatment planning: One of the first steps of your care is determining whether surgery is right for your circumstances. We use electromyography (EMG), a diagnostic procedure that interprets the body’s electrical signals, to evaluate muscle and nerve cells in your wrist. We also discuss your treatment history to ensure you’ve tried all possible options before recommending surgery.
- Shared decision making: Whether you have a wide-awake procedure or traditional surgery is up to you. We give you the information you need to make a decision you feel good about. This includes risks, benefits and how the wide-awake approach is different from traditional carpal tunnel release procedures.
- Quality: With wide awake procedures you can expect the same high-quality care that people have come to expect from Henry Ford. Our careful attention at every turn helps you achieve outstanding results and a quicker recovery.
- Efficiency: Wide awake procedures take less time to complete than minimally invasive procedures in the operating room. Carpal tunnel release procedures typically take an hour or less. Many patients even drive themselves home. And with smaller incisions, there’s a lower risk of infections and other complications.
Wide awake hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome: What to expect
Learn more about wide awake hand surgery by watching this video.
If wide awake hand surgery is right for you, here’s what to expect:
- The night before and day of surgery, you eat as you usually would. There is no need to arrive for your procedure with an empty stomach.
- We escort you to a sterile procedure room in the clinic where you sit in a comfortable chair. Surgical draping prevents you from seeing the procedure.
- You receive medication to numb your wrist, so you experience no sensation during the procedure.
- If you prefer, doctors explain what they are doing through each step of the procedure and how soon it will be over.
- When the procedure is complete, they put a surgical dressing on your wrist.
- After the anesthesia wears off, you can go home. Your wrist may be sore or weak during recovery, but you should have less pain when using your hands.
Easy access to your care team
If you have questions or concerns while recovering at home, our team is easy to reach. We are available by phone during business hours on weekdays. You are also welcome to send a secure electronic message through Henry Ford’s patient portal, MyChart.
Other conditions we treat using wide awake hand surgery
Additional conditions hand surgeons treat using wide awake procedures include:
- Cysts and other abnormal growths
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Ligament and tendon issues, such as irritation and tears
- Severe wounds that need irrigation (periodic cleansing to eliminate bacteria and residue)
- Trigger finger