An Uncommon Story of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Michael Wolf, owner of Michael Wolf Vineyard Services and long-time Napa Valley grape producer, suffered for years from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both wrists.


Like the 12 million other Americans with this condition, Mike was experiencing numbness, tingling, and weakness in his fingers accompanied by a great deal of discomfort. Eventually he began to lose the ability to grip objects tightly. At night, he would try to sleep in an upright position with his arms hanging loosely at his sides, to minimize the pain. After 35 years of pruning vines, cutting grapes, and digging soil, he was no longer able to fully utilize the tools of his trade, his hands.


With two visits to Dr. Marko Bodor for an ultrasound-guided release procedure – one for each wrist – Mike regained full function of his fingers and hands; years of pain and suffering were simply gone. For the 500,00 traditional carpal tunnel surgeries that take place each year, the experience is entirely different.


With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the median nerve that runs along the inside of the wrist into the palm is compressed or pinched. The pressure on the nerve creates the tingling and numbness. Strength in the fingers and hand are diminished. It is not uncommon to see people wearing orthopedic braces on their wrists to help alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, usually people whose daily activities include repetitious motions and use of the wrist and hand. Therapy and immobilization can be helpful, but the only certain cure for now is surgical.


Traditionally, a carpal tunnel surgery has been an “open release” procedure or an operation wherein the surgeon opens up the wrist and cuts the ligament at the top of the tunnel where it is being compressed. Even with the development of endoscopic surgery, where the surgeon makes a smaller incision and cuts the ligament from the inside with the help and guidance of a tiny camera, the procedure is painful and requires weeks of recovery and rehabilitation.


Thanks to Dr. Bodor’s exceptional talent for ultrasound, he has been able to devise an ultra-minimally invasive technique for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.


By using high precision ultrasound, Dr. Bodor was able to perform the procedure without having to open up the hand surgically. He did not need to make room inside the wrist for the endoscopic camera. The ultrasound imaging provided Dr. Bodor with live visualization of the median nerve, ligament, and carpal tunnel from multiple angles. He knew precisely where to cut and how to do so without injury or harm to the surrounding area.


Ultrasound allows us to take the camera out of the body, decreasing tissue and muscle damage and minimizing post-procedural pain and rehabilitation. Ultrasound allows the surgeon to be more effective, improves recovery times for the patient, requires no hospital or surgical center, and is less costly for both the patient and our healthcare system.


For Mike, there was no need to wear a heavy bandage or splint after his procedure; there was just a small band-aid. Rather than spending his time resting and icing his wrists to reduce swelling and inflammation, he was out in the fields, happily and without pain. Mike did not undergo weeks of physical therapy. He got right back to work managing over 800 acres of Napa Valley vines, during harvest no less.


The Napa Medical Research Foundation supports research that proves the effectiveness of minimally invasive procedures and we advocate for their widespread use. We strive to improve the quality of life for people in our community, like Mike Wolf, who are suffering from chronic pain and decreased function or mobility. Through our efforts, we hope to share new discoveries and treatments that will keep people off the operating table and allow them to return to a more active and healthier lifestyle.

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 Reduce Pain. Increase Mobility + Function. Improve Quality of Life.

All the research conducted through the Napa Medical Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is fully funded through generous donations received from individuals and family foundations.

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