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Signs Of Infection After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

by Lyndon Langley
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Signs Of Infection After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Signs Of Infection After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the median nerve in your wrist and can cause severe hand weakness, numbness, tingling sensations, burning pains, and even loss of function. The carpal tunnel is where several tendons pass through to connect bone to muscle. When you look at it anatomically, it’s an odd location for any kind of operation — but especially one as complex as a carpal tunnel release surgery. Because there are so many tendons passing through this narrow space, anything that might have been overlooked during the initial examination could end up causing problems after the procedure.
Complications following carpal tunnel release surgery include infection, scar tissue formation, hematoma, stiffness, bleeding, nerve injury, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and other complications. These issues will most often occur within two weeks of the procedure, which makes postoperative care critical. If you think you may be experiencing these signs following your surgery, take immediate action by contacting your surgeon immediately. This article provides information on some common symptoms indicating infection following surgery. Read on to learn more about what they mean.
Increase in Pain, Swelling, Warmth, Or Redness. Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the wound site. Red streaks leading from the wound. Pus draining from the wound. A fever.
These are all signs that indicate that you’ve developed an infection. Your doctor should evaluate you for possible surgical-site infections. Signs of infection vary depending upon the type of infection. You’ll need to see your doctor if the area becomes warm, tender, painful, swollen, red, moist, or begins discharging pus. In addition to taking measures to prevent infection, doctors recommend washing with soap before eating, keeping the wound clean and dry, not smoking, and avoiding heavy lifting until instructed otherwise.
Scar Tissue Formation
Scars form when the body forms new skin over an old cut or wound. Sometimes scars can become very thick and hard. Scar tissue can contract and pull away from the underlying tissues and muscles. It can also thicken and change color. Scars can make movement difficult, and sometimes prevent normal use of affected parts. If you notice sagging, wrinkling, rough patches, or changes in color, shape, texture, size, strength, flexibility, or pain, consult your doctor right away. He or she will determine whether the problem is due to scarring or another complication. Treatment options vary based on the severity of the problem.
A hematoma occurs when blood collects under the skin near the surface of the skin. Hematomas can range from small bumps to large lumps. They can appear anywhere along the arm, leg, torso, or other part of the body. Smaller bumps are usually treated conservatively with rest; larger ones require drainage. Drainage involves removing fluid from the lump using either aspiration or needle puncture techniques. Aspiration is done by inserting a syringe into the bump and withdrawing liquid slowly. Needle puncture entails creating a hole in the center of the hematoma and then drawing out fluid with a hypodermic needle. Both methods carry risks including damage to nerves or arteries and leakage of infectious agents such as HIV.
When blood leaks outside the vessels, it creates an open sore or cuts down the amount of oxygen available to cells in the surrounding area. Bleeding can happen anywhere and at anytime. Most bleeds heal without intervention. However, if the source cannot be identified or stopped, it needs medical attention. Bleed patterns may show how much blood has leaked, how fast the blood was lost, and its general direction. To help pinpoint the exact spot from which the blood escaped, check underneath clothing or bed linens for wet spots. If you find blood stains, avoid putting pressure directly on them. Use gauze pads instead. Also keep the affected area elevated above the heart.
Nerve Injury
If your doctor detects neurological impairment, such as pareses or paralysis, difficulty moving, sensory disturbances, or weakness, contact him immediately. Nerves are extremely delicate, and it takes time for them to fully recover and repair themselves. Temporary injury can lead to permanent disability.
Your joints may feel stiff and inflexible. Stiffness increases gradually over time and does not necessarily imply joint inflammation. Joint stiffness can be caused by lack of exercise, poor posture, arthritis, osteoporosis, trauma, or other conditions. Consult your physician if your joints remain immobile or are particularly painful.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
This disorder is characterized by increased heat, sweating, and reddening of the face and hands. Refractory sympathetic dystrophy causes extreme discomfort and pain, making everyday tasks difficult. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy develops when a nerve is injured or damaged. Doctors treat the condition with medications, physical therapy, massage, and occupational therapy.
Infections of the Hand and Wrist
Hand infections typically involve bones rather than soft tissues. Bone infections are classified as acute when they develop rapidly. Symptoms include increasing pain, redness, warmth, swelling, and discharge from the wound. Acute bone infections can spread quickly and easily, requiring prompt diagnosis and treatment. Chronic bone infections, however, generally last longer and do not require prolonged antibiotic therapy.
Fungal infections, such as ringworm, are the most common types of infection affecting the hand. Fungi thrive in damp areas and can infect nails, hair, and skin. Ringworm spreads quickly among children and those who spend extended periods indoors, such as people recovering from illness or hospitalized. Other fungal infections include jock itch, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, scabies, and yeast infections. Bacterial infections such as staphylococcus bacteria are widespread throughout society and commonly affect the fingers and toes. Bacteria live naturally on the skin and mucous membranes. When an infected person comes into direct contact with healthy skin, the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply rapidly. Untreated bacterial infections can result in abscesses, boils, carbuncles, cellulitis, impetigo, lymphangitis, erysipelas, and septic shock.
Wound management plays an important role in preventing infection following carpal tunnel surgery. Proper hygiene helps reduce risk of infection by maintaining a sterile environment. Keep wounds covered to protect against exposure to dirt, germs, and sunlight. Cleanse the wound regularly with mild cleansers or antibacterial ointments. Apply antibiotics cream to minimize the chance of developing a staph infection. Avoid touching the wound with dirty hands. Cover the wound while sleeping, showering, swimming, playing sports, or performing strenuous activities. Take oral antihistamines for nausea and relieve itching with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Be careful applying ice, as it can delay healing.

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