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Hand Surgery may Follow Breast Cancer for Some Patients

Posted by floriza in Hand Surgery

Hand surgeons have begun to alert breast cancer patients that carpal tunnel syndrome may be a health issue they experience after cancer. This has been found to be particularly true of patients who have a mastectomy, and the condition sometimes necessitates hand surgery. This is because so many fluids build up within the lymphatic system that they are unable to drain sufficiently. The resulting inflammation extends into the arms and hands and puts pressure on the nerves.

A side effect of some medications prescribed after breast cancer can also contribute to finger pain.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is actually a name given to certain symptoms of the hand and wrist. These symptoms include pain, tingling, burning sensation, weakness (especially when trying to grip something), and inflammation. The “tunnel” refers to the pathway that the median nerve travels from the forearm to the hand.

In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive motion injuries, such as in people who work on computers without the proper ergonomic placement of their wrists. For these people, the dominant hand, which tends to be used more frequently, is most often affected. For breast cancer patients, however, the hand that is affected will most likely correlate to the breast that contained the cancer cells.

Occasionally, a cyst or tumor that puts pressure on the median nerve can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hand Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Not everyone with carpal tunnel syndrome requires or opts for hand surgery. Hand therapy, rest, and wrist splints can sometimes be used to relieve the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications are also sometimes prescribed.

For cases where the symptoms are impairing function significantly, hand surgery is recommended. It is a very common surgery performed in the United States today. During the surgery, a small incision is made, and the tunnel in which the median nerve travels is made larger. This then allows the ligament to no longer put pressure on the nerve.

Hand surgery is a special type of orthopedic surgery. Plastic surgeons sometimes assist hand surgeons when the injuries involve cosmetic issues. This is especially true in the case of burn victims.

Hand surgery in New Jersey for carpal tunnel syndrome is an outpatient procedure that is often performed under only a local anesthetic rather than a general anesthetic. Hand therapy may be prescribed afterward to help the patient rehabilitate and restore function to the hands after the procedure.

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