Guyon’s canal and carpal tunnel syndrome: can surgery help?

For patients suffering from a hand condition, the symptoms can range from being annoying – pins and needles and clumsiness – to unbearably painful. Often at its worst during the night, carpal tunnel syndrome can prevent sleep and impact on every aspect of life. There are non-surgical treatments for both conditions, but if these are not effective then surgical interventions offered by Milton Keynes-based surgeon Mr Sudip Ghosh can provide welcome relief.

What is Guyon’s canal syndrome?

This syndrome is the entrapment of the ulnar nerve as it passes through a tunnel in the wrist known as Guyon’s canal. There are a number of causes for this nerve compression including constant pressure on the palm, over-use of – or a trauma to – the wrist. The ulnar nerve supplies feeling to the little finger and half of the ring finger; when it is squeezed, the results are, initially, pins and needles and graduating to a burning feeling in the wrist, a loss of sensation in the fingers and a weakening of the hand.

How does carpal tunnel syndrome differ?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the more common but it is possible to have both syndromes in the same hand. CTS is the compression of the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and it affects the remaining digits: the thumb, index and long fingers and the other half of the ring finger. Pain can be sudden and severe.

In some cases surgery is advisable and involves cutting a ligament in order to relieve the pressure exerted on the ulnar and/or median nerves – but it is not appropriate for every patient. At Mr Sudip Ghosh’s hand surgery clinic in Milton Keynes, Mr Ghosh will take your full medical history and conduct a physical examination, assessing the severity of the condition. He will then talk you through your options and advise whether you are a good candidate for hand surgery.

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