New carpal tunnel procedure brings relief to long-suffering patients

Ebby Halliday April 2020

MANSFIELD, Texas — Doctors at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center just performed the first carpal tunnel release using ultrasound guidance in Tarrant County. During the procedure, the surgeon uses ultrasound, the same technology used to view babies in the womb, to see inside the patient’s wrist. Using a single incision, the surgeon can cut the carpal ligament and relieve pressure inside the wrist — all while the patient is awake.


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The first patient to undergo the procedure at Methodist Mansfield is a 73-year-old Cedar Hill man who spent his career typing on a keyboard. Thomas Gray says he thinks that repetitive motion is probably to blame for the years of pain he has been experiencing. His carpal tunnel syndrome was so severe that he had to use a pair of pliers to twist open a bottle of water.


“I put up with the pain so long because traditional carpal tunnel surgery sounded painful and the recovery time was just too much,” Gray says. “When I heard about this option, I jumped at the chance to try it.”


Just six days after undergoing the release procedure, Gray was able to easily twist open a bottle. He’s now excited to have his other wrist done in a few weeks.


Dr. Shaun Garff, sports medicine specialist on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield, is the first physician in Tarrant County to perform the ultrasound-guided release. He’s one of only six doctors in Texas offering the minimally invasive alternative.


“This is a complete game-changer for so many people who put off traditional carpal tunnel surgery. We are able to keep the patient awake and just numb the wrist. Patients go home almost immediately with little more than a bandage on their wrist,” Dr. Garff says.


Carpal tunnel syndrome affects more than 12 million Americans and results in 650,000 surgeries every year. Traditional CTR procedures can remedy the condition but may result in large and sometimes painful scars, ongoing palm pain, and a long road to recovery.


The low-profile UltraGuideCTR utilizes technology developed by physicians at the Mayo Clinic. It is designed to perform CTR through a single incision while protecting sensitive anatomy.


This link includes video of the procedure plus before-and-after video of Gray opening water bottles. It also contains SOTs from Dr. Garff and Thomas Gray. Please courtesy “Methodist Health System.”

Donna J. Smiedt