LAREDO, Texas (KGNS) – Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes severe pain and discomfort in the hand and fingers. It gradually even reduces a person’s ability to use their hand. Traditionally, treatment has been through open surgery, but now a new procedure claims it can correct carpal tunnel in just ten minutes. So how effective is it in relieving pain? A local patient tells us that his case was so bad that the pain kept him awake every night, despite trying to find different sleeping positions.
“You couldn’t sleep, there was no way!” David Garza said. “Both of my hands were, although my right was worse as I’m right-handed.” Unfortunately, along with feeling the pain at night, David says it also happened during the day.
“If I was doing something like using a hot glue gun, sometimes I would burn myself because my hands were numb, I didn’t feel it was hot.” To make matters worse, performing his daily duties as Laredo’s director of fine arts ISD was becoming difficult for him. So he went online to try to figure out what it was and decided it was probably carpal tunnel syndrome. Around the same time, David learned that a local doctor, Armando Gonzalez, was holding a workshop on carpal tunnel. So, he headed to the seminar to learn more about it, and while there, he met sports medicine physician, Dr. Armando Gonzalez.
“Most of my patients experience severe pain and numbness,” he says. “A lot of them say they wake up at night and they’re flailing their arms around.”
Through further examinations, Dr. Gonzalez was able to confirm David’s suspicion of carpal tunnel, which he said occurs when a nerve in the wrist is compressed by inflammation.
“You have the bones of the wrist underneath, the ligament has a roof on top, and inside the tunnel is where the nerve is, and when there’s swelling there that’s hitting the nerve without the pressure being able to leave, over time, that nerve will be damaged. To the point where it can be permanently damaged or permanently affected, with all the muscles in the arm being lost.”
Permanent damage is a frightening thought for anyone, but even more so for David, as he relies on his hands as a multimedia artist. Because of this, he was hoping for an alternative to open surgery – one that would get him back to work as soon as possible.
He didn’t have to look too far; he was able to find a variant with Dr. Gonzalez using ultrasound technology. It’s a procedure that he says takes less than ten minutes. “I make a small incision where I insert the device and use the ultrasound guide as I follow that tip all the way down until it gets under that ligament. When I’m safely away from
artery away from the nerve, two balloons are deployed and they will push the nerve one way and the artery the other, so there is no artery near that blade.
The entire procedure takes less than ten minutes, and according to David, he began to feel positive results very quickly.
“By the time I got out of the hospital, I was moving my fingers,” he said.
According to Dr. Gonzalez, people with carpal tunnel whose wrists are too narrow to fit into the device will not qualify to undergo this minimally invasive procedure. Additionally, those whose nerve crosses where the incision is to be made will also need to undergo open surgery for relief. For those who qualify, however, they say this treatment is a game-changer.
“For me, it allowed me to do things that I hadn’t been able to do for a long time,” David said. “And that’s really, really, really satisfying.”
As for recovery from the procedure, Dr. Gonzalez says there will be some swelling and soreness from the procedure itself, but most patients will return to work within a week.
As for the cases that can be treated with the ultrasound procedure, Dr. Gonzalez says that cases ranging from mild to severe can be treated.
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