MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in the wrist. It is formed by wrist bones on the bottom and sides, and a tough band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament on top. Muscle tendons and the median nerve pass through the carpal tunnel. The median nerve controls muscles in the palm and base of the thumb, allowing them to move. It also provides feeling to the thumb and nearby 2 and 1/2 fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where tissue swelling causes pressure to build up within the carpal tunnel. This puts pressure on the median nerve. Over time, median nerve pressure results in symptoms in the areas of hand it supplies. Common symptoms in these areas are pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. Risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome include a smaller carpal tunnel from being female or from genes passed down from parents, wrist injuries, other medical conditions that cause inflammation, fluid buildup, or nerve damage such as diabetes, pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and hypothyroidism, and repetitive hand or wrist motions. A common treatment for mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome is keeping the wrist in a neutral position by wearing a brace or splint. In addition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs may help relieve pain. A doctor may also recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation and swelling. For moderate to severe symptoms, a doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called carpal tunnel release. This procedure may be done as an open procedure through an incision in the palm and wrist. Or it may be done as an endoscopic procedure through a small keyhole incision. The surgeon will perform this procedure with an endoscope, which is a device containing a tiny camera and surgical instruments. In both procedures, the transverse carpal ligament will be cut to relieve pressure on the median nerve. At the end of either procedure, the incision will be closed with sutures.