After carpal tunnel release surgery, the surgeon wraps the patient's wrist in a heavy bandage attached to a splint while still in the operating room. The patient keeps this bandage in place for approximately one week before returning to the doctor for its removal. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the patient then works with a physical therapist to restore strength to the affected hand.
The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke indicates patients begin to find relief immediately after surgery; however, full recovery sometimes takes several months. There is a chance of pain, nerve damage or infection at the incision site. In some instances, the patient loses some wrist strength because of cutting the carpal ligament. In some cases, patients find it necessary to change jobs or adjust their duties after surgery, although the return of carpal tunnel syndrome after surgery is rare.
According to WebMD, the chance of nerve damage after surgery is less than 1 percent for either open or endoscopic surgery. Patients who choose endoscopic surgery generally experience faster healing than those who select open surgery. If the thumb muscles have wasted away due to the condition, recovery takes more time. In rare cases, the pain returns, and the individual finds it difficult to grip objects.