Bone injuries can occur due to trauma or certain conditions like arthritis and other bone-related diseases. In some cases, fixation of fractures could only be done with surgery, and bone fusion is the only option. One such case is wrist fusion surgery or wrist arthrodesis.
In this post, we are going to talk about wrist fusion surgery along with why it is required and how it is done. Let us start with the basics first.
What is Wrist Fusion Surgery?
Wrist fusion surgery is where the surgeons fuse metacarpals, carpals, and radius together to form one long bone. Here, the ulna is kept separated so that the patient is able to move the palm of the hand.
During wrist fusion surgery, the surgeon uses a bone graft to connect different bones together. The graft may either be taken from the patient or collected from a donor/bone bank. This surgery is done under general anesthesia by making an incision down the wrist. Special care is given while making the incision as it is important to avoid damaging nerves & vessels. Cartilages from the joints that are required to be fused are removed. Along with the graft, Locking Plates and Screws are also used to ensure proper placement of the wrists. These orthopedic implants will hold all the bones in place while the graft fuses.
What is the Need for Wrist Fusion Surgery?
Wrist fusion surgery is required to get relief from the wrist pain caused due to advanced or severe arthritis, complications after wrist fractures, or severe ligament injuries. The pain sometimes becomes unbearable and it affects normal daily functioning. So, when the person doesn’t find any relief from other conventional methods, wrist fusion surgery is what orthopedist will suggest.
The fusion surgery will alleviate the pain that results due to the grinding and destabilization of the wrist joint. Plus, it will also bring back the proper alignment of the wrist.
Is it Possible to Move the Wrist After Surgery?
Now you know that during wrist fusion surgery, the doctor will fuse bones of the hand (metacarpals & carpals) with the radius. So, after surgery, the patient will not be able to bend the wrist but he/she can easily rotate the palm.
The best thing about the surgery is that patient will no longer experience pain after the surgery but, some range of motions will be lost. Still, with time, the patient will be able to regain the lost strength.
What is the Recovery Period After Wrist Fusion Surgery?
Recovery after wrist fusion surgery may take some time. For that, the patient will be required to take proper physical therapy sessions plus dedicatedly perform at-home exercises suggested by the therapist.
The starting phase of the therapy is aimed at reducing the minimal pain left and inflammation. After that, the therapist will also suggest some other exercises and do a massage on the patient’s palm to relieve muscle spasms. With time, the therapist will start focusing on improving the motion of the wrist and finger joint. When physical therapy will complete, the patient will be able to easily perform daily tasks involving hand without any difficulties.
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