Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Hand, Wrist and Elbow Specialist Talks Minimally Invasive and Outpatient Options For Your Aches and Pains


Submitted by Mississippi Valley Surgery Center

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 the advice of an expert like Dr. Tyson Cobb at Orthopaedic Specialists in Davenport, Iowa.

Dr. Cobb has dedicated his career to becoming one of the world’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 procedures at Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, an outpatient surgery center at 3400 Dexter Court in Davenport.

We sat down with Dr. Cobb to talk about a few of the outpatient procedures he frequently performs and the ways innovative technologies and procedures help his patients recover faster.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common nerve 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.

For some, the pain persists despite these conservative measures. Thankfully, 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.

Are there other conditions that cause hand pain and numbness that you treat frequently? Is there also an outpatient procedure to help people who suffer from this type of pain?

Yes, cubital tunnel syndrome, and outpatient surgery is an option for that, 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.” As you can imagine, living with this type of discomfort can be very uncomfortable for patients.

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. 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 or work in an average time of one week!

Let’s talk about arthritis. When people hear the word “arthritis,” most automatically think of hips or knees. Osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb is just as common, right?

Absolutely. Arthritis — also called joint inflammation — is the inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness. In the thumb, it’s called carpometacarpal (CMC) arthritis. It can occur from wear and tear or may follow injury of the joint. Patients with this type of thumb arthritis often have pain with gripping activities.

While non-surgical treatments such as splints or injections can relieve mild cases of the condition, surgery may be necessary if it continues to worsen. In those cases, we turn to arthroscopic CMC outpatient surgery to relieve the pain.

During surgery, small incisions are made at the base of the thumb through which a small video camera is inserted that lets me view the surgery on a monitor and remove the arthritis. This technique results in no stitches — and patients go home the same day!

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. You can feel physically and emotionally more comfortable in an outpatient environment where you are being cared for by a team of seasoned professionals who have lots of experience with cases like yours.

I can tell you firsthand that the staff at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center are experts in the latest, proven techniques that lead to better outcomes and faster recovery for our patients. This provides patients with an experience they can feel good about!

To learn more about Dr. Tyson Cobb, visit www.osquadcities.com. To learn more about Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, go to www.mvhealth.net and visit Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter.