Following the operation you will normally have a bulky dressing covering your wound for 48hours. This is then replaced with a sticky dressing at 48hours until 10 days following your operation. At 10 days your stitches will be removed.
RETURN TO WORK
This depends on the nature of your work. For a sedentary occupation the average time off work is 2 weeks, for a light manual occupation 4 weeks and for heavy manual work this can be as long as 6 weeks.
It is possible to drive within 6-7 days of your operation but it is normally best to leave this until your stitches have been removed at 10 days.
RETURN TO SPORT
This depends on the intensity of the sport but in most cases a return by 6 weeks is the norm. However more physically demanding sports can require as much as 3 months off.
Like with any surgery there are a number of small risks associated with this operation.
Infection (1%) is a risk with all surgery. In the majority of cases these are infections around the wound and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The more unusual deep-seated infections however can require admission to hospital and surgery to clean the wound out if necessary.
Swelling and Stiffness can remain for many months following surgery. It is important to elevate the limb and keep all joints that are not immobilised with a splint, active.
Scar Sensitivity is often a problem with surgery in the hand, particularly the palm. This is often self-limiting and daily massage of the scar can shorten the duration of the symptoms. The sensitivity does settle is all cases with time.
Nerve Injury is a potential but very rare risk with this surgery. Often the nerves at greatest risk are the tiny nerves supplying skin in the area of the wound and cutting through these may result in an area of numbness that is not often troublesome. Injury to the Median nerve itself is extremely rare and can in the worst case, result in permanent weakness or numbness in the hand.
Pillar Pain is the name given to the pain experienced on either side of the scar when pushing on the palm. This often remains until the ligament that has been released heals over. It is the norm for this to settle within 3 months of the operation.
Recurrence is an unusual complication. You may however find that the symptoms recur some time after the original operation having completely settled initially. In this rare event a second operation may be necessary.
Residual Numbness is a problem when the symptoms have been present for a long time prior to the operation. If you have complete numbness in your fingers prior to surgery there is a risk that the feeling may not completely return. This is due to scarring in the nerve from the prolonged pressure. It is important to note however that it can take up to 18 months for the feeling to completely return.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an extremely rare (1%) complication that can follow any injury or surgery to a limb. In this situation the nerves in the arm over-react to the point where the hand becomes very painful, swollen and sensitive. This condition does improve with time but can be problematic for many months (see section on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).