Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery in South Africa

Also known as Carpal Tunnel Decompression Surgery, the procedure is used for treating Carpal Runnel Syndrome. The condition is characterized by compression or increased pressure at the median nerve of the carpal tunnel which passes through the wrists. Carpal tunnel surgery is suggested in case of persistent pain the first three digits (thumb, index as well as middle finger) and ring finger (towards the thumb side). The pain is mostly accompanied by a feeling of numbness or loss of sensation, and tingling sensation. The surgery is very common with more than 500,000 surgeries being performed worldwide annually. On an average, the carpal tunnel surgery cost may vary from below $1000 to above $3979, as it depends on a number of factors. 

What is Carpal Tunnel Release?

The procedure is performed only if prolonged conventional treatments and physical therapies go ineffective. The approach of the procedure is to split up the transverse carpal ligaments from that of the volar antebrachial fascia (towards the distal end). The transverse ligament forms the canopy over the carpal tunnel and is primarily the reason for compression of nerve root. Hence, to decompress the area and relieve the candidate from further pain, the separation or release or distension of the ligament is imperative. 

Ideal Candidate for Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal tunnel surgery is one of the most common procedures performed all across the world. However, one must decide on the candidacy to determine eligibility for the procedure. Thus, one can be an ideal candidate if:

  • The reported pain has been persistent for more than six to nine months. This is because, in most cases, the pain can be cured through prolonged treatment with conventional medicines. 
  • The pain has been effective even after usage of cast or suitable splint
  • The condition is affecting daily activities 

Factors Affecting the Cost of Carpal Tunnel Release

The factors that widely affect the carpal tunnel surgery cost are:

  • Extent of nerve damage incurred 
  • Approach of the procedure
  • Country where the procedure is being performed
  • Type of healthcare facilities availed.
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About the Carpal Tunnel Release

  • Carpal tunnel decompression, popularly referred to as carpal tunnel release, is a surgical procedure conducted to relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • A nerve called median nerve along with many tendons pass through a small tunnel called carpal tunnel from the forearm to the upper hand. This nerve controls the movement of your fingers except for the little finger.
  • Sometimes there is tremendous pressure on the nerve and it presses the nerve against the tunnel. This results in specific symptoms such as numbness, weakness, tingling sensation, or pain in the fingers. This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome.


Is carpal tunnel surgery compulsory?

The treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the condition and the duration of the symptoms. Generally, the physicians first recommend non-surgical interventions such as the use of corticosteroid injections and wrist splints to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

A carpal tunnel treatment surgery is recommended in case:

  • You experience loss of function in fingers or hand because of nerve damage confirmed in a median nerve test.
  • Your symptoms do not subside. Wait for two to seven weeks after starting non-surgical treatment.
  • You have difficulty in performing daily activities ranging from reduced strength in the thumb, loss of feeling, and loss of coordination.
  • You are not able to get sleep properly because of the pain.
  • The main cause of this situation is rheumatoid arthritis.

The carpal tunnel treatment surgery is an open technique. The surgeon may make a cut in the transverse carpal ligament that forms the roof of the tunnel. The carpal tunnel treatment allows more room for the median nerve and the tendons to pass through the tunnel. Thereby, the pressure on the nerve is reduced causing relief from the symptoms.

How is Carpal Tunnel Release performed?

Carpal tunnel surgery is a simple outpatient procedure. You can go to the hospital, get the surgery done, and walk back to home on the same day.

On the day of the surgery, the area to be operated is cleaned with an antiseptic solution to avoid the chances of contracting an infection. The anesthetist administers a local anesthetic injection to numb the wrist area. This is done so that you do not experience any pain during the procedure.

A small cut is made in the palm near to the wrist area. Once the transverse carpal ligament is visible, a small cut is made in the ligament. This relieves the pressure on the nerve. The skin is put back and stitched together in its original position. A bandage is placed on the palm.

 

Are there any other techniques?

The following are the two alternatives to the open carpal tunnel surgery:

Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery: The surgical procedure is similar to that of open surgery but the entire surgery is performed by looking at the camera. A small incision is made and small instruments with a camera attached to them are placed inside. The incision is small and damage is minimal. It gives you a chance to recover faster than the open technique. The healing is better and minimal pain is felt.

Key hole surgery: In this procedure, a smaller incision than normal is made on the palm. A special instrument with a light at one end and microscope at the other end is placed. This gives the doctor a chance to see the carpal ligament and carefully guide the tools to cut the targeted area.

Recovery from Carpal Tunnel Release

The symptoms are usually relieved immediately after the surgery or in most cases, within a few months. You may feel numbness in the fingers for the next 15 to 16 hours.

  • Keep your hand in a raised position for two days so that there is no swelling.
  • The stitches and the bandage should be kept intact for 10 to 14 days. Make sure that you keep the area clean and dry.
  • The doctor will fix the next appointment after two weeks of bandage removal during which he or she will inspect the healing process.
  • You have to go through the rehabilitative physical therapy that includes mild exercises to prevent stiffness.

The time you take to recover from carpal tunnel surgery depends on the severity of symptoms you had before the treatment.

  • If you had moderate symptoms, on the non-dominant hand, or your daily activities are limited, you can recover in one or two days.
  • If you had moderate to severe symptoms, on the dominant hand, or your daily activities are intensive, you may have to wait for 6 to 12 weeks to recover completely.

Does it come back?

  • In very rare cases, symptoms such as pain and numbness may come back
  • You may not get back complete strength in the thumb if the muscles have been severely damaged

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
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  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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