Hand, wrist and elbow specialist talks minimally invasive and outpatient options for your aches and pains. 

'Tis the season for holiday decorating, wrapping presents and preparing for feasts and parties. That means it can also be the season for aches and pains - especially in our upper extremities.

When holiday activities become too difficult to perform because of debilitating hand, wrist or elbow discomfort, don't give up on the seasonal fun. Seek advice of an expert like Dr. Tyson Cobb, director of the Hand and Upper Extremity Center at Orthopaedic Specialists in Davenport, Iowa. 

Dr. Cobb has dedicated his career to becoming one of the worlds's experts on minimally invasive surgery of the upper extremities. In fact, he holds several patents and instructs surgeons around the world in the use of minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery techniques. He performs many of the latest minimally invasive outpatient procedures at Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, an outpatient surgery center at 3400 Dexter Crt. in Davenport. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common verve disorders experienced by Americans today. It affects almost 10 million people. What is carpal tunnel, and how can it be treated in an outpatient facility?

Yes, carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition that results in burning, numbness or tingling in your fingers, thumb, palm or wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the wrist to the hand, becomes compressed.

People who suffer from carpal tunnel frequently wake up at night with pain and may find it difficult to grip small objects. In some cases, nighttime splints, anti-inflammatories, therapy or cortisone injections can help.

There are innovative, minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that get patients back to living life to the fullest. 

An endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery is one example. During the outpatient procedure, two small incisions are made in the wrist and palm through which a small video camera is inserted to view the surgery on a monitor. A small knife is used to divide the tight tissue compressing the nerve. Stitches are typically not required for this procedure because the incisions are so small they can be closed with surgical tape. 

Patients are typically back to work one day following surgery with restrictions as necessary.

There is another condition that causes hand pain and numbness that you treat frequently - cubital tunnel syndrome. Is there also an outpatient procedure to help people who suffer from this type of pain?

Yes, outpatient surgery is an option for cubital tunnel, too! In many ways, cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. It just involves a different nerve - the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve is the same nerve that causes the tingling sensation when you hit your "funny bone."

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Mild cases of cubital tunnel syndrome can be treated with splinting of the elbow at night, avoiding aggravating activities such as sustained or repetitive elbow flexion, or anti-inflammatories. But in some cases, surgery is needed.

During a minimally invasive endoscopic cubital tunnel release, I use special instrumentation that I've developed and patented to free the compressed nerve. This technique results in a smaller incision, less scarring, less pain and faster recovery. Studies have shown that my technique results in return to normal activity/work in an average time of one week!

If someone is interested in outpatient surgery on their hand, wrist or elbow, what should they expect? 

Here in the Quad Cities we're lucky to have a multi-specialty outpatient surgery center like the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center. Most people feel physically and emotionally more comfortable in an outpatient environment where they are being cared for by a team of seasoned professionals who have lots of experience with cases like theirs.

To learn more about Dr. Tyson Cobb, visit www.osquadcities.com.

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