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Failed CTS Surgery? How Do You Tell?

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Old 09-02-2005, 04:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2
RetiredDan HB User
Failed CTS Surgery? How Do You Tell?

Hi, I live in Alaska but I am currently in Seattle undergoing tests to see why my right hand never responded to the carpal tunnel release surgery I had done in January back in Alaska. The hand doctor in Anchorage said it might be related to my connective tissue disease. I've had nerve studies done (twice, both before & after the surgery), an MRI, physical therapy, and a cortisone shot, but it's still getting worse. My rheumatologist says there is no connection to my connective tissue disease and the pain in my hand. The hand surgeon here in Seattle said he thinks the surgeon in Alaska may not have completely transected the Transverse Carpal Ligament (TCL). This seems like an inexcusable error for a hand surgeon, but evidently it happens. The only way to tell for sure is to undergo another surgery!

Needless to say, I don't know what to think, but I'm not going to go back to the doctor in Anchorage, that's for sure, as he was supposed to be the best in town. He may have done nothing wrong, but I want someone else to tell me that.

Anyone out there have a similar experience? If so, any suggestion about what to do at this point will be greatly appreciated. Also, since I'm retired I am willing to go anywhere in the country for the best diagnosis and treatment possible.

Many thanks!!


Last edited by RetiredDan; 09-02-2005 at 04:48 PM.

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Old 09-04-2005, 12:05 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Dover, UK
Posts: 83
Nigel HB User
Re: Failed CTS Surgery? How Do You Tell?

Hi Dan,

I'm from the UK and I have a similar tell to tell, Its now been about 18 weeks since my opp "ulnar nerve release" but the numbness in my little finger and part of my hand has got no better and my muscle is still wasted and getting worst, and the crampping and locking of my fingers is driving me nuts I fill I'm becoming like a cripple as time goes on, they are sending me back for more nerve test on my arm and hand as my hand surgeon can't understand why its not worked that was about 10 weeks ago but still waiting to hear when my appointment is for my nerve tests

well I hope they sort you out soon my friend cos these problems can be a real pain in the butt

Regards Nigel

Old 09-06-2005, 08:35 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2
RetiredDan HB User
Re: Failed CTS Surgery? How Do You Tell?


Thanks much for your note. My surgeon assures me that he cut entirely through the ligament, so that is not the problem. He says that people like me that have a rheumatoid condition, even if fairly mild, are more at risk for carpal tunnel surgery not working or not working well.

Another surgeon here in Seattle told me that very often a second operation is needed, whereby they take either a piece of fat or a piece of muscle tissue and graft it over the nerve to provide a cushion to reduce the pressure on it. He said it is very often succussful. So, as disappointing as all this is to us at the moment, there is still hope of a successful outcome!

Hang in there, Nigel, and hopefully you will get the relief you need.

All the best,


Old 09-07-2005, 07:18 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 448
Taimse HB User
Re: Failed CTS Surgery? How Do You Tell?

I had CT release Feb 3. I still have complications of numbness, tingling, aches and hypersensitivity in first finger and long finger( numbness on one side) My ring finger and thumb are o.k. It does tingle and hurt on wrist when area below scar is thumped...tinels sign? Of course the orthopedic surgeon has said he has never seen someone with my symptoms post op. I have done hand therapy. I haven't had a cortisone shot or MRI yet. My chiropractor thinks it is a neuroma at wrist...that regenerating nerves from being partially cut are balling up on themselves because they can't get through scar tissue. And believe me, that therapist really massaged scar area( I did too at home), painfully at times to make sure it remained soft. I also massaged area below wrist a lot....still would shoot pain up into fingers...even the one that is partially numb.

My right hand ( successful CT release 12 years go) is beginning to show problems, as I am using it more to compensate for problems in left hand. I got the feeling from what the orthopedic surgeon said, that I am going to have to learn to live with I get by with what I do.....I get by to a certain point....have not done some things for the last seven months, so will have to hire someone or try to do the stuff and play catch up. I also had the surgery so I could do some of the things I gave up because of the carpal tunnel. I certainly can't do them now.

I am seeking a second opinion at Mayo Hand Clinic in Rochester, MN....even though my medical center is a Mayo affiliate. I am starting with a bone scan Sept 19. I also got the name of a hand specialist that works in St. Paul, MN and Woodbury. He was highly recommended. The medical center here, was not happy about sending records as I didn't have the surgeon refer me. Gee, one Mayo medical center can't send records to Mayo? They told me they didn't fax records to Mayo...only in an emergency. Mayo hand clinic person told me that my medical center faxes records all the time.

I would think there are good hand specialists on the west coast that you could go to.

Old 09-07-2005, 07:23 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 448
Taimse HB User
Re: Failed CTS Surgery? How Do You Tell?

Dan. Oh, I forgot to mention, that my mother had an endoscopic carpal tunnel release about 18 months ago at Mayo in Rochester. She has rheumatoid arthritis and sees a rheumatologist there. She is 74. She has had no complications and recovery was maybe a week. ( I had open CT release)

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