Poor Surgery Results


My mother, who is 94, had bilateral carpal tunnel on 20 August. Her surgeon determined her nerve loss by asking her to close her eyes whilst he touched the end of each finger with an unfolded paperclip. Her right hand was much worse than her left. She has had her stitches out and the wounds have healed well. However, she complains that the site of the wounds is painful and there is no improvement in her symptoms. I have said that it is only 4 weeks since her operation and that she has another appointment to see her consultant on 8 October and she should discuss it further with him at that point. However, she is saying that she is getting severe shooting pains up her left arm which are very painful and debilitating. She is trying her best to use her hands but I think there is an element of "I shouldn't use them too much because I will make them worse" Has anyone else had similar problems and how long did it take for the pain to go. Her GP told her that her right hand was very bad, the thumb joint is arithritic and she had very little feeling in her fingers. The left hand conversely was not so bad but this seems to be the one that is now causing her more problems. I have read about pillar pain and also pain caused by inflammation of the median nerve, which I understand runs from the hand up through the arm, through the should and to the spinal column, due to the operation. any advice would be gratefully received as my mother is beginning to get quite depressed about this


I take it that no nerve conduction studies were done before surgery so that we do not really know exactly how bad it was before operation. If it is mainly the left hand that is causing trouble now, and that was the less affected side before surgery, then that suggests that something is amiss and the situation should be re-evaluated. It really should feel better at 4 weeks, not worse. This is much harder to do without pre-operative nerve conduction studies to compare with but even without them it would be worth getting some done now. There is a guide to how to try and analyse poor surgical outcomes on this site under treatments which should give you some pointers about how to think about it. JB

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