Carpal Tunnel Injection
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Carpal Tunnel Injection

En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition

Carpal tunnel injection involves injecting corticosteroid medications (eg, prednisone ) directly into the carpal tunnel area of the wrist. This is procedure is designed to treat carpal tunnel syndrome , which occurs when the median nerve—running from the forearm into the hand—is squeezed at the wrist. This results in pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, and pain which may radiate up the arm.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Parts of the Body Involved

Wrist

Reasons for Procedure

Carpal tunnel injection is used to relieve inflammation and treat mild or intermittent symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Risk Factors for Complications During the Procedure

  • Local skin abrasions or infection

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will ask you if you are allergic to steroids or any other drug.

Anesthesia

You will be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb the area.

Description of the Procedure

Your doctor will fill a needle with corticosteroid medication. With your palm facing upward, your doctor will aim the needle toward the tip of your middle finger, insert the needle into the carpal tunnel area of the wrist, and inject the medication.

After Procedure

Your doctor will bandage the injection site and discuss what you should expect in the coming days.

How Long Will It Take?

The procedure typically takes a few minutes.

Will It Hurt?

You may feel some pain after the anesthetic wears off.

Possible Complications

  • Irritation and swelling of tissues
  • Infection
  • Increased pain in the area for 24 hours
  • Tendon rupture may occur due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) , which causes carpal tunnel syndrome. The injection itself does not cause the rupture.

Average Hospital Stay

Carpal tunnel injection does not require a hospital stay

Postoperative Care

If recommended by your doctor, you can relieve pain by applying ice to the area of injection for 15 minutes several times a day and by taking an oral pain reliever.

Outcome

Steroid injections can help improve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome for three months or longer after treatment. There is evidence that injecting steroids can result in good long term results, possibly requiring no further treatment.

Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occurs

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, or discharge from the injection site

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
http://www.aaos.org/

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Arthritis Society of Canada
http://www.arthritis.ca/

College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca/

References:

Carpal tunnel injection. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed101.epnet.com/Detail.aspx?id=161674 . Accessed February 28, 2007.

Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm. Accessed February 28, 2007.

Joint and soft tissue injections. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/774.xml. Accessed February 28, 2007.



Last reviewed February 2008 by Robert Leach, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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