Carpel Tunnel surgery ...?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by donna723, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Has anybody ever had it?

    My 27 year old son was diagnosed with it a while back. He does this really heavy duty commercial welding and apparently that's what caused it. He went to a local doctor that he's not too fond of but who was the only one who could see him without a long wait. The doctor said he had carpel tunnel and would probably need surgery. He referred him to a neurologist, which I thought was kind of weird.

    The neurologist checked him out and said that he not only had carpel tunnel in both wrists but that he was also getting arthritis in both wrists and both hands! Arthritis at age 27! But the neurologist said he should have been referred to an orthopedic surgeon, not a neurologist, so they made him another appointment. So he went to the orthopedic surgeon who agreed with both diagnoses but said he should be seeing a neurologist, not an orthopedic surgeon! They wanted to refer him back to the same neurologist he had already seen!

    Meanwhile, a month has gone by, he's seen three different doctors, he has gotten absolutely nowhere, and he still can't get his fingers to bend right! And he's having a really hard time at work because of the problems with his hands! My daughter is a nurse and she said that she's always seen people with carpel tunnel be referred to an orthopedic surgeon! Has anybody ever had this surgery done? By an orthopedic surgeon? And how was it diagnosed? This is getting ridiculous and the longer he waits the worse it gets!
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Many times carpal tunnel is diagnosed by an EMG (sorry, cannot remember what that stands for. Can google it) that is many times done by a neurologist. The orthopedic surgeon is the one who does the surgery. My husband and I have both had carpal tunnel surgery, and this is how it was done with us. It is an outpatient surgery, and I believe the down time now runs about 2 or 3 weeks.

    My husband used to be a welder, a farrier, and horse breaker as well as a saddle bronc and bull rider. He is 41. He has SEVERE arthritis everywhere. He probably was getting arthritis at a much younger age. I am guessing your son's arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is due to wear and tear. That is what we have been told anyways. Does your son have any pain in the arthritis areas?
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    He has pain in his hands but not his wrists. If he holds his hands out straight and then tries to curl his fingers up, the ring finger and little finger on both hands will still be sticking out while the index finger and middle finger curl up like he wants them to! It's like a delayed reaction ... a second or two later and the outside two fingers will finally cooperate and bend like the others. He's also constantly working on cars and engines and he's broken every finger he has at least once! His fingers already looked like lightning bolts before any of this ever started, so that doesn't help any!
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I have carpal tunnel--I'm helped a great deal by wearing the wrist supports, especially at night. Did the docs suggest that?

    Also, he might try a chiropractor. Mine did some adjustments on my hands that did help with flexibility.

    My mom and a good friend had the surgery done. One of the negative side effects is that it can considerably diminish strength in the wrist.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I have carpal tunnel but have not had the surgery. Osteoarthritis is common in the damaged areas, unfortunately, and it just keeps getting worse. I was referred to an orthopedist, don't know why he would be sent to a neurologist unless they figured there was some other kind of nerve damage besides the carpal tunnel.

    My pain is in my hands as well, they go numb if I do too much writing, coloring, cutting...I've been prepping projects for childrens' church over the last few weeks, and my hands are not happy about it.
  6. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    Hmmmm interesting, You would think that he would just be referred to an Ortho Dr period. The only time in my sons case that both Ortho and Neuro (Neurosurgeon) were put together as being hands on with his surgery was due to the Baclofen Pump possibly being compromised during his spinal fusion. Maybe its because of the nerves in the hands as to why they want him to be seen by a Neuro.
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Donna, do his hands go numb frequently, especially when held out horizontally or upright? Numbness usually is the first complaint, and then when it gets bad the pain starts in.

    FWIW, my neuro referred me to the orthoped and a chiropractor.
  8. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Orthopedic surgeons do the surgery to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. As for the arthritis, he should be seein a rheumatologist. Sounds like he may have RA.
  9. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    Oh boy, poor kid. I sent you a PM

  10. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I had the surgery both wrists. I first went to my family doctor. He referred me to a neurologist who did an EMG. Those results confirmed carpal tunnel and then I was referred to orthopedic surgeon.

    I waited a very long time, thinking the pain was arthritis. My right was horrible. REcovery was very slow and very long and very painful. I actually told the doctor he did something wrong because it isn't getting any better. Therapy helped tremendously. I could not do anything, not even move my fingers. Therapy helped that so much.

    My left was not as bad or as long. (right handed). It took quite a while to heal, but since it has I have not had any pain at all in my wrists.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The two fingers you mention involved more...the last two...pinky and ring finger...are more the ulnar nerve. Carpal tunnel is the thumb, and other two fingers...and wrist involvement.

    I had what I thought was carpal tunnel problems when I did an immense amount of keying work for this data entry job but it turned out to be ulnar nerve impingement. Tony has some sort of repetitive motion problem from construction but hasnt been able to get it checked out because of no insurance. I think his may be carpal tunnel with some tennis elbow thrown in for good measure.

    Your son really needs the EMG to tell what nerves are involved. Carpal tunnel surgery wont help if its the ulnar nerve. Mine is impinged from the cervical area.
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I have ulnar nerve entrapment in my left arm and while my pinky and ring finger don't stick out, I've lost muscle tone in those fingers. Janet is right that carpel tunnel is the thumb and first two fingers, ulnar nerve is the pinky and ring finger.

    I always thought that surgery was a last resort and that they try physical therapy first.