Physician treats loss of feeling in thumbs, fingers at HCM
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve—the nerve that runs down the forearm and into the palm. It supplies feeling and movement to parts of the hand, and when it is compressed, the restriction leads to numbness, tingling, weakness or muscle damage in the hand and fingers. Some people experience numbness all the way up to the shoulder.
J. Steven Hoerster, MD, performs a procedure at the Hill Country’s hospital called the Centerline Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release System to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. The procedure takes 5 to 10 minutes to perform, requires no external stitches, and patients can use the operated hand to a limited extent the day of the surgery. Most importantly, the procedure restores median nerve functionality, renewing feeling throughout the hand. Dr. Hoerster said a hand which has undergone the procedure is normally able to pick up five pounds in two weeks. The procedure can be performed on separate hands, two weeks apart.
A company called Arthrex, located in Naples, Florida, developed the Centerline Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release System. Narrower than a pencil, the Arthrex instrument is inserted through a two to three centimeter incision at the apex of the wrist, and under the carpal ligament. Using a microscopic camera, Dr. Hoerster is able to pinpoint a shallow incision across the ligament, in line with the median nerve. The cut relieves pressure from the nerve and frees it to transmit signals all the way to the fingertips.
The loss of touch
Some people develop carpal tunnel because of manual labor or operating vibrating equipment. Repetitive motions, like doing a lot of typing, also contribute to the ailment. When the condition occurs, some lose the feeling in their fingers to such an extent that they have a difficult time feeling loose change in their pocket. They have to look at their hands to see if they’re holding the coins and determine if it’s quarters, nickels or dimes. For some, the condition is so severe they can’t feel if their fingers are on fire.
A physician can test the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome by testing the speed of signals traveling through the median nerve, and this is often the first step in diagnosing the problem.
For those who have undergone the Centerline Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release System performed by Dr. Hoerster, those signals can regain their velocity and the feeling completely returns, and all the conveniences that come with the sense of touch are restored.
For more information about the Centerline Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release System, contact Dr. Hoerster at (830) 997-4043.