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Friday, 13 November, 1998, 18:34 GMT
Vein transplant ends wrist pain misery
Wrist pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes chronic wrist pain
Doctors have developed an operation to treat a condition that causes chronic wrist or arm pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects 10% of the population who type or do repetitive actions. It is similar to repetitive strain injury.

The condition can be treated by wearing a splint or by using steroids. But now a new type of surgery that involves transplanting a vein could provide the answer for the worst cases.

CTS is caused by the swelling of the tendons in the arm in response to repetitive actions such as typing.

Typing
CTS can be caused by typing
As the swollen tendons press against the median nerve they cause intense pain which can be crippling. The worst cases have chronic pain all day and night.

CTS can also affect people who have broken their bones.

The conventional surgical technique is to cut a ligament over the affected nerve to relieve pressure. However, this does not always work and can lead to the build up of scar tissue.

The new technique involves taking a vein from the leg and wrapping it around the nerve like insulation around electric wires.

The vein pads the nerve and, because leg tissue is similar to that of the arm, the transplant has a good chance of working.

Recovery time from surgery is also much quicker.

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