Carpal tunnel syndrome

What is carpal tunnel syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand.

It happens because of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of your arm, goes through a passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in your hand. The median controls the movement and feeling of your thumb and all your fingers except your pinky.



Pressure on the median nerve, which runs down the arm's center and into the hand, can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and reduced hand and finger function.

People using repetitive hand movements, such as computer operators, hairstylists, and massage therapists, are at a greater risk of developing this disorder. Pregnant women are also highly susceptible. Wrist splints and exercises can ease symptoms of minor carpal tunnel, though advanced cases may require surgery or pain medication as a treatment.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:

Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain — primarily in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. This often wakes people up at night. Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers.



Repetitive hand use. Repeating the same hand and wrist motions or activities over a prolonged period may aggravate the tendons in the wrist, causing swelling that puts pressure on the nerve.

Hand and wrist position. Activities involving extreme flexion or extension of the hand and wrist for a prolonged period can increase pressure on the nerve.

Pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swelling that results in pressure on the nerve.

Health conditions. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance are conditions associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Heredity. This is likely an important factor. The carpal tunnel may be naturally smaller in some people, or there may be anatomic differences that change the amount of space for the nerve — and these traits can run in families.



Although it is a gradual process, carpal tunnel syndrome will worsen over time without some form of treatment for most people. For this reason, it is essential to be evaluated and diagnosed by Dr. Sauvageau early on. In the early stages, it may be possible to slow or stop the progression of the disease.

Nonsurgical Treatment:

Steroid injections.
A steroid injection into the carpal tunnel may relieve symptoms for some time. Corticosteroid, or cortisone, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can be injected into the carpal tunnel. These injections often reduce painful symptoms or help to calm a flare-up of symptoms.

In patients with mild, early disease, injections may relieve symptoms in the long term. In those with moderate to severe disease, the positive effects of the injection may be temporary.

Dr. Sauvageau may also use a cortisone injection to help diagnose your carpal tunnel syndrome.

Surgical Treatment:
Dr. Sauvageau may recommend surgery if nonsurgical treatment does not relieve your symptoms or provides only temporary relief. The surgical procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome is called a carpal tunnel release.

This surgery aims to relieve pressure on your median nerve by cutting the ligament that forms the tunnel's roof (transverse carpal ligament). Release of this ligament increases the tunnel's size and decreases pressure on the median nerve, allowing for proper blood flow and function of the nerve.


Carpal tunnel release surgery
The transverse carpal ligament is cut during carpal tunnel release surgery. When the ligament heals, there is more room for the nerve and tendons.

In most cases, carpal tunnel surgery is done on an outpatient basis. The surgery can be done under general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, or under local anesthesia, which numbs your hand and arm. In some cases where local anesthesia is used, you will also be given a light sedative through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into a vein in your arm.

During a carpal tunnel release surgery, Dr. Sauvageau makes a small incision in the palm of your hand and views the inside of your hand and wrist through this incision. During the procedure, Dr. Sauvageau will divide the transverse carpal ligament (the roof of the carpal tunnel). This increases the tunnel's size and decreases pressure on the median nerve.

After surgery, the ligament may gradually grow together in a lengthened fashion. Still, there will be more space in the carpal tunnel, and pressure on the median nerve will be relieved.


Dr. Sauvageau's expertise

Our talented Dr. Joan Sauvageau, who has already operated on hundreds of people suffering from carpal tunnel decompression syndrome while working at the hospital, is now offering this surgery at her new clinic in Le Vieux-Longueuil.

Driven by a profound passion for helping her patients, she strives to put her expertise and talent to work for patients awaiting hand surgery.

Return to your daily activities pain-free and regain your normal range of motion with Dr. Sauvageau!


Why choose Clinique K to perform the procedure

The state-of-the-art facility, ultra-modern operating room, and warm, welcoming, relaxing setting.


Other surgical procedures offered by Dr. Sauvageau

The state-of-the-art facility, ultra-modern operating room, and warm, welcoming, relaxing setting.

  • Breast augmentation
  • Breast lift
  • Abdominoplasty
  • Post-pregnancy body contouring (or mommy makeover)
  • Blepharoplasty
  • Labiaplasty (intimate surgery)
  • Hand surgery - trigger finger
  • Filler and neuromodulator injections

If you have any questions, our warm and highly qualified team is just a click of a phone call away.

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