Nerve Decompression Surgery

Nerve Decompression Surgery is a specialized procedure designed to alleviate pressure on nerves in the hand and upper extremities. Unlike traditional treatments, which often focus on managing symptoms, this surgical intervention targets the root cause by relieving compression on nerves. By carefully identifying and releasing entrapped nerves, this procedure aims to restore function, reduce pain, and promote better nerve health. 

Conditions Treated

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Radial tunnel syndrome
  • Guyon's canal syndrome
  • Suprascapular Nerve Entrapment
Procedure Time
1 - 2 Hours
Treatment Location
Our Surgery Center (outpatient)
General, Local or Regional
Recovery Time
1 to 6 Months + (depending on the procedure)

Benefits of Nerve Decompression Surgery

Choosing Nerve Decompression Surgery over alternative treatments offers a direct and targeted approach to relieve chronic pain, restore sensation, and enhance mobility in the hand, wrist, and arm. 

  • Alleviate Chronic Pain
  • Regain Sensation
  • Enhance Mobility
  • Prevent Further Damage
  • Improve Daily Activities
  • Restore Quality of Life
  • Reduce Reliance on Medications

Are you a candidate?

Nerve decompression can be an excellent treatment option for many patients suffering from nerve compression syndromes in the arm, shoulder, forearm, wrist, or hand. Ideal candidates have persistent symptoms for 3+ months which have not adequately improved from conservative treatments like splinting, steroid injections or hand therapy. This surgery may not be ideal for patients with underlying conditions causing their symptoms other than physical nerve compression, those with extremely advanced compression neuropathy, or those unable to comply with post-operative rehabilitation protocols.

Find Your Surgeon

The surgical team at The Center for Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery consists of fellowship-trained plastic, orthopedic, and neurological surgeons who have practiced together for over a decade. Collectively, they have performed thousands of nerve decompression procedures with excellent results. Each physician completed additional subspecialty training focused specifically on the intricate nature of hand anatomy and complex reconstructive procedures.

What To Expect


Before undergoing nerve decompression surgery, patients will go through essential pre-operative steps. This phase involves a final consultation with the surgical team, providing an opportunity to address any lingering concerns or questions. Discussions about the type of anesthesia to be used and its implications will take place, along with specific instructions on fasting, adjustments to medications, and the scheduled arrival time at the surgical center.


The surgeon begins by making precise incisions in targeted areas, exposing the affected nerve. Using specialized instruments and techniques, the surgeon carefully identifies the compressed nerve and releases it from surrounding tissues or constrictions, alleviating the pressure causing symptoms. This meticulous approach allows the nerve to regain its natural function and alleviate sensations of tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain. Once the necessary decompression is achieved, the incisions are closed.


Following the nerve decompression procedure, patients are transferred to a recovery area to gradually awaken from anesthesia under the close supervision. You may experience some discomfort or soreness around the surgical site, which is normal and can be managed with prescribed pain medications. Swelling and mild bruising may also be present and will gradually subside over time. Adherence to post-operative care instructions is crucial for successful recovery and optimal healing.



Patients are usually advised to rest the affected hand or extremity, keeping it elevated to reduce swelling. Physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises are often recommended to aid in regaining strength, mobility, and function in the treated area. These exercises focus on gentle movements to prevent stiffness and promote healing. 

Patients can gradually resume normal activities, guided by the surgeon's instructions. However, strenuous activities or heavy lifting might be restricted during the initial phase of recovery. Regular follow-up appointments with the surgical team are essential to monitor progress, evaluate healing, and make any necessary adjustments to the recovery plan. The full recovery timeline varies among individuals but typically spans several weeks to months, during which patients experience gradual improvements in symptoms and functional abilities as the affected nerve heals.

Real people. Real results.

Meet Trevor,

who underwent decompression surgery for persistent shoulder pain that did not improve with rest.

Trevor had been experiencing persistent shoulder pain for over a year that was impacting his baseball career. Dr. Elkwood diagnosed him with nerve compression and performed surgery to release the suprascapular nerve, allowing Trevor to play baseball without pain.

Patient Resources

Visit our Patient Resource Center online to access useful information such as intake forms, tips for your first appointment, ways to prepare for surgery, and more.


Is nerve decompression surgery the only treatment option for nerve compression syndromes?

While nerve decompression surgery is effective, other treatments like conservative therapies (medications, splinting, physical therapy) might be initially recommended. However, if these methods fail to provide relief, surgery might be considered.

What are the potential risks or side effects associated with nerve decompression surgery?

Risks include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and scar tissue formation. Side effects might involve temporary discomfort, swelling, or numbness around the surgical site. These risks can be mitigated by following post-operative care instructions.

How long does it take to recover fully after nerve decompression surgery?

Recovery times vary, typically spanning weeks to months. Patients often experience gradual improvements in symptoms and functional abilities over this period.

Will insurance cover nerve decompression surgery?

Coverage depends on individual insurance plans. It's advisable to consult both the surgical team and the insurance provider to understand coverage specifics, including pre-authorization requirements or potential out-of-pocket costs.

Are there alternatives to traditional open nerve decompression surgery?
Yes, minimally invasive techniques, such as endoscopic or arthroscopic approaches, might be available depending on the specific condition and its severity. These techniques can result in smaller incisions and potentially faster recovery times.
What can I do to optimize my recovery after nerve decompression surgery?
Follow the post-operative care instructions meticulously, attend recommended physical therapy sessions, avoid strenuous activities initially, and maintain regular follow-up appointments with the surgical team for monitoring and guidance.
How soon after surgery can I expect relief from symptoms?

Relief from symptoms varies among individuals. Some patients experience immediate improvements, while for others, it might take time as the nerve heals and regains function. Patience and adherence to the recovery plan are crucial.

Are there specific lifestyle changes or precautions I should take after surgery to prevent recurrence?

Depending on the underlying cause, the surgical team might recommend ergonomic adjustments, avoiding repetitive motions, or modifying certain activities to minimize the risk of recurrent nerve compression.

HUES Surgeons

Get to the root of your nerve pain and find the relief you deserve.