Carpal Tunnel

Kathie Kirschenmann had been dealing with carpal tunnel in her right hand for some time but it was never to the point of needing surgery. Then one day at work, she lost all strength in her left hand. She says she recalls thinking, “I have broken my wrist.” Kirschenmann works as a printer and is constantly moving around boxes of paper.     

At her appointment with hand surgeon and nerve specialist, Christopher Dy, MD, she was surprised to find out she had severe carpel tunnel in her left hand and surgery was recommended. Kirschenmann says, “Dr. Dy’s bedside manner was fabulous.” He thoroughly described the entire surgery and explained she now has the option of “Wide-Awake” surgery. Dr. Dy says, “We have done about 40 wide-awake surgeries, including carpal tunnel releases, trigger fingers, and surgeries for finger stiffness.”

The “Wide-Awake” surgery option is the use of lidocaine with epinephrine (applied by Dr. Dy at the area of the incision) instead of general anesthesia and sedation. The lidocaine is similar to the “novocaine” that people are familiar with from dental procedures, and the epinephrine helps to minimize bleeding during the surgery. Because patients do not receive any strong sedatives, the recovery on the day of surgery and the day after is smoother.

Some patients still prefer the more traditional route which involves the use of general anesthesia and sedation. Dr. Dy’s main focus is always to put the patient at ease with which ever surgery option they choose.  

Kirschenmann says it was a no-brainer for her. It cut the cost of the procedure and Dr. Dy was so reassuring and put her at complete ease. She says, “Dr. Dy and his staff talked to me throughout the entire procedure. At one point, he was asking me too move my fingers.” Dr. Dy says, “Being able to ask a patient to move their fingers during surgery ensures that I have addressed their problems and can make any necessary adjustments right then.” 

Kirschenmann says, “I was able to leave right after surgery, ran some errands and grabbed some lunch before heading home. I would definitely have another “Wide-Awake” surgery again.”

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