I'm going to have carpal tunnel surgery next week. How soon can I go back to playing bridge? I'm scheduled to be in a bridge tournament 10 days after the operation.

Many patients get instant relief from painful symptoms after carpal tunnel release. The doctor will advise you about when to return to work and to daily activities. What you can and can't do often depends on how the operation is done and if there are any problems.

Many carpal tunnel releases can be done endoscopically. This means the doctor makes a small opening over the carpal tunnel area of your wrist. A special tool called an endoscope is inserted. The scope allows the doctor to see inside the wrist area. A band of tissue across the wrist called the retinaculum is cut. This is done to take the pressure off the nerve.

If there's no extra bleeding or swelling, you may go home with just a simple bandaid across the wrist. In some cases an ace wrap around the hand and wrist is needed to control swelling. Many doctors advise patients not to bend the wrist back or to lift, grasp, or pull with the hand for 10 days.

You should be okay to handle the cards if you hold them in your other hand during the game. Be sure and check with your doctor for any other guidelines and restrictions.