New solution for carpal tunnel syndrome: Less pain, faster recovery

A woman suffered with carpal tunnel syndrome for more than 30 years before learning about a new life-changing solution to her relentless hand pain. Though the pain had interrupted her sleep and daily life for decades, Dr. Bushman, a physiatry specialist at East Falls Clinic, restored her quality of life with a simple procedure that only required a few days of recovery.

“I wish everyone knew that there’s no sense in suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome pain,” Dr. Bushman said. “People will suffer through it because they think they have to, or they want to avoid a big surgery, but now there’s a pretty simple procedure that can make it better with a fast, easier recovery; and we’re the only ones in the Idaho Falls area that offers it.”

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs down through a “tunnel” of muscle tendons in the wrist and sends sensory signals to the fingers and hands, becomes trapped by inflammation from surrounding tissues. The narrowed passageway places pressure on the median nerve, causing numbness, tingling and possibly weakness in the fingers or hand.

Because carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse with time, as inflammation increases and “tunnel” space decreases, physicians recommend early treatment. Non-invasive techniques such as wrist splinting, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids may alleviate the pain; if not, surgery usually offers a lasting solution.

A new, minimally invasive solution to carpal tunnel syndrome

Traditional, open surgery for treating carpal tunnel syndrome requires a large incision in the palm of the hand that cuts through muscles in order to access and then free the median nerve. The recovery can take weeks to months.

With the innovative minimally invasive and ultrasound guided carpal tunnel release surgery, patients can return to work and activities they love within 3 to 6 days.

During the innovative procedure, a specially trained physician creates one tiny incision at the wrist (it doesn’t even require a stitch). Then, using live ultrasound images to visualize the nerves, ligaments and surrounding tendons, the surgeon relieves the pinched median nerve by releasing the compressing ligament with a specially designed instrument.

Thanks to its simplicity, the procedure can take place inside a clinic, instead of a hospital operating room. Plus, it only requires local anesthesia, thus avoiding complications and risks associated with general anesthesia.

“My patients get to go live life without the pain”

Physicians in more than 22 states across the country use this new technique, but East Falls Clinic became the first (and currently the only) facility in the Idaho Falls area to offer the procedure.

“It’s fantastic. More than 90 percent of patients are very pleased with how easy it is and how quickly they get better,” Dr. Bushman said. “Honestly, we see them a week later and they’re doing so awesome that we don’t see them again. My patients get to go live life without the pain!”

Dr. Bushman has vast experience with a variety of ultrasound guided procedures, and he underwent extra, special training for this minimally invasive ultrasound guided technique for carpal tunnel release. Plus, he gained tremendous experience during his residency at the University of Utah and fellowship at Barrow Brain and Spine in Arizona after graduating from Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Bushman says the new procedure aligns perfectly with his overarching goal of helping people return to the activities that bring them the most fulfillment and joy.

“We like to see people get better, and people are happy when they get better – so this new minimally invasive technique is a win-win for everybody,” Dr. Bushman said.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Bushman or one of his colleagues at the East Falls Clinic, call (208) 535-4400.

June 7, 2022
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