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Carpal Tunnel back 8 years after surgery?

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Old 09-24-2010, 11:24 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 6
packfan96 HB User
Carpal Tunnel back 8 years after surgery?

Ok, here's my story. I developed CTS in high school. Ignored it for many years, as it was tolerable. When I got a job in my mid-20's working at a computer all day, the symptoms became unbearable. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon that I trusted completely, had operated on my husband and others with great success. I also knew him to be very conservative, which I liked. He tried every conservative treatment - OT, bracing, NSAID's, all to no avail. I had a negative NCS, but he felt strongly it was CTS and encouraged me to have surgery, which I did. My recovery was easy, and the pain was totally gone, so I was very pleased with that.

The dr. was concerned, enough so that he came out during surgery to talk to my husband, that my median nerve is in an abnormal location. My scar is much longer than normal because my nerve was so far out of place. He said this is something to make sure every surgeon is aware of in the future.

Fast forward 8 years. Within the past few weeks, the pain has come back as bad as ever. Hoping that going to the dr earlier this time would help, I made an appt with a hand surgeon. He was a little perplexed, saying that is CTS comes back, it's usually shortly after surgery, not 8 years later. He ordered another NCS and an EMG this time, both of which were normal again. After reviewing my previous records and test results, and examining my hand, he feels strongly it is CTS. he thinks my abnormal nerve structure contributes to the "normal" NCS results and the recurrence. He wants to do a cortisone injection as a diagnostic, saying if the injection works, it is likely the surgery will work. I wasn't comfortable doing the injection, and he said he won't do surgery without it. I'm also not comfortable jumping right into surgery.

What I'm not sure of is this...I don't know this dr or his reputation. I don't know if he is not the conservative type and one of those who feels surgery is the only answer, or if he truly believes surgery is my only option. He told me he would give me the names of several people to seek second opinions from, as well as a neurologist, but he strongly believes they will give the same response.

Since I refused the injection, he decided to brace it to at least give me some relief from the pain, but he said it's not going to fix it (which I already know, but at this point I need some relief).

Just not sure what to do, especially since my case is not a purely simple one. If I operate again, am I putting myself in the position of needing surgery every few years, and getting worse each time with additional scar tissue?

Thanks for keeping up, I know this is a long post!!!!!

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Old 10-07-2010, 07:48 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: pa
Posts: 1
pain4me HB User
Re: Carpal Tunnel back 8 years after surgery?

i also had successful cts surgery many years ago on both hands and then my symptoms came back in 2008. i had the steroid shots and it helped so my dr did surgery again and i had no improvement and i am in severe pain. my dr referred me to another dr for a muscle wrap which was done on my left hand in feb of this year and i got a small amoun t of relief but not enough that the dr will operate on my right hand. my first emg's were negative but the surgey helped 100% for about 9 years, my second emg showed mild cts and my third emg showed my nerves as being healthy? my mri showed alot of scar tissue which i guess is what is causing me so much pain, i can barely use my hands at all and i don't know if it will get any better. good luck with what you decide to do and maybe ask about having the muscle wrap if you do decide on surgery.

Old 10-08-2010, 08:57 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 6
packfan96 HB User
Re: Carpal Tunnel back 8 years after surgery?

Thanks for the response. It's frustrating, I went for a second opinion this week and this dr believes it's severe tendonitis in two of my tendons, and he says he doesn't see any signs of carpal tunnel at all. I'm so glad I didn't go with the first doctor and get surgery that would have done me no good! But, my treatment options aren't great, I now have two diagnoses that are very different (though based on what I've read I tend to agree more with the tendonitis diagnosis). This dr. wants to put a cast on it and completely immobilize it and see if that provides any relief. Ugh, just wish there was an easy fix!!!

Good luck to you, I hope you can figure yours out...not fun to deal with.

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