Dedicated Solely to Your Success. Sophisticated Representation. Exceptional Results.

Complications that may result from carpal tunnel surgery

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects many Illinois residents, causing pain, numbness, and wrist weakness. Carpal tunnel surgery may be necessary for severe or persistent cases as a viable treatment option. While the procedure is generally safe and effective, it is essential to acknowledge potential complications that can arise, including those due to medical malpractice.


Like any surgical procedure, carpal tunnel surgery carries an infection risk. Infections can develop in the incision site and surrounding tissues, leading to pain, swelling, redness and drainage from the wound. Surgeons adhere to strict sterilization protocols to mitigate this risk, and patients must diligently follow post-operative care instructions.

Nerve and blood vessel damage

The median nerve and blood vessels run through the carpal tunnel, and accidental damage to these structures can occur during surgery. Nerve damage may result in ongoing pain, loss of sensation or even worsening of CTS symptoms. Although such complications are relatively rare, potentially arising from medical malpractice, they can have a lasting impact on a patient’s hand function and quality of life.

Scar tissue formation

Following carpal tunnel surgery, scar tissue can form around the incision site or in the carpal tunnel itself. This can compress the median nerve, leading to recurrent symptoms or even the need for additional surgery to remove the scar tissue.

Allergic reactions

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to the surgical materials used, such as stitches or adhesives. Patients must disclose any known allergies to their surgeon before the procedure.

Persistent symptoms

While carpal tunnel surgery is intended to relieve symptoms, some patients may experience persistent or recurrent issues even after the procedure. This may be due to incomplete median nerve decompression, individual healing variations or underlying health conditions.

Complex regional pain syndrome

In rare cases, patients may develop complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a chronic pain condition that can occur after surgery. CRPS causes severe, prolonged pain, swelling and changes in skin color and temperature in the affected area.

Minimize the likelihood of complications

To ensure the best possible outcome, carpal tunnel syndrome patients requiring surgery should choose a surgeon with experience, follow pre and post-operative guidelines and maintain open communication with their healthcare team. Before surgery, patients should discuss their medical history, current medications and any concerns they may have with their surgeon. Reducing the chances of complications hinges as much on the healthcare professional’s competence as on the patient doing their due diligence.