Endoscopic carpal tunnel release to restore hand sensation and strength: Monica Bay’s Story

“I’m the poster child for Dr. Pruzansky,” says legal journalist Monica Bay with a laugh.

Monica-BayAs a professional whose business is words, Bay does not speak idly: over the past 10 years, she has had seven procedures with Dr. Pruzansky that have included her shoulder, wrists and elbow. While this may sound like a trial to most, Bay has a distinctly philosophical—and uniquely New York—take on things. “When I lived in California I hated sports,” she says, “but after moving to the East Coast I have become a die-hard Yankees fan. One thing I’ve learned from baseball is not to be afraid of surgery.”

While baseball and journalism are admittedly vastly different professions, their commonality is, of course, their critical use of hands. As can be imagined, among Bay’s most important activities is using computers to write and edit articles for a leading legal magazine (she is editor-in-chief), and her blog, The Common Scold.

A few years ago, she experienced problems with a cyst at her right wrist, and numbness in her pinkie fingers on both hands.  “The symptoms weren’t as intense as the severe tendonitis I had experienced in the past,” she remembers, “but because typing is essential to my livelihood I didn’t want to take any chances; so we scheduled the surgeries on both wrists. You could call me Little Ms. Carpal.” She ended up having an “open” procedure on her right hand (because of the cyst), and a less-invasive procedure on her left hand.

A result of the compression of the median nerve by the finger’s flexor ligaments as it passes through a small canal in the wrist, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a particular specialization of Dr. Pruzansky, who is one of the country’s pioneers in a minimally invasive procedure known as Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release. On her left hand, rather than cutting the palm open, Dr. Pruzansky was able to access Bay’s compression via two quarter-inch incisions, which usually leads to a quicker and less painful recuperation—critical factors for a journalist whose livelihood is connected to her ability to type. Both procedures had speedy recoveries, but Bay is especially enthusiastic about the second surgery. “You can’t even see the scars,” she notes. “I was typing within days.”

“Everything Dr. Pruzansky has done has worked beautifully,” says Bay. “I’m pain-free, and while I still am not fond of hospitals, I’m no longer afraid to face surgery. I jokingly call Dr. P my ‘auto repair shop,’ and all my tune-ups have been a complete success!”

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