We must say that continuous pain in the wrist is one of the worst experiences, especially for those with wrist involvement in their work. The pain could occur either due to an injury or the development of arthritis. Plus, it won’t be wrong to say that it is not easy to treat this condition. Sometimes, all the methods used for the treatment of wrist arthritis fail and pain persists. In such cases, wrist arthrodesis is the only option left. In this post, we are going to discuss wrist arthrodesis along with certain key points about the procedure. So, let us start with the basics first.
What is Wrist Arthrodesis?
Wrist arthrodesis or wrist fusion surgery is the treatment procedure used to alleviate the pain in the wrist when all other treatment methods fail to deliver. This is one of the preferred methods for relieving arthritic pain in the wrist.
In wrist arthrodesis, bones on the hand are fused with the radius of the forearm. As there is the involvement of many bones, this surgery is known to be a complicated one. After the surgery, bones will not rub together while providing relief from pain, and eventually, the swelling will disappear as well. In this procedure, the carpals and metacarpals of the hand are fused with the radius while leaving the ulna in the forearm. There is a reason why ulna is not fused and this is because it allows twisting of the wrist and flipping of the palm.
One thing the patient must know before undergoing wrist arthrodesis is that he/she won’t be able to bend the wrist after the fusion. Thus, the patient needs to compromise that movement to say goodbye to unbearable pain.
In this surgery, a bone graft is used for the fusion of bones and they are kept in position with the help of Orthopedic Bone Plates and screws.
Who Should Get Wrist Arthrodesis Done?
Wrist arthrodesis is known to be the best treatment procedure for relieving arthritic pain. Thus, it is preferred to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and degenerative arthritis. Besides this, wrist fusion is also done in certain other conditions including:
- Deformities in the wrist
- Tumors causing damage to the wrist
- Complications after infection
- Loss of motion in the wrist joint
Are there any Complications Associated with Wrist Arthrodesis?
Being a complicated procedure, wrist arthrodesis may cause certain complications:
Injury to nerves & blood vessels
With wrist fusion surgery, there is a risk of damage to the nerves & blood vessels that pass through the wrist joint.
With wrist fusion surgery, there is a slight chance of getting an infection as the same is the case with other surgical procedures as well. In severe cases, surgery may be required to treat the infection.
In certain cases, the bones and/or the graft may not fuse together and this will result in nonunion. In such a case, the pain will remain even after the fusion and another surgery may be required to fix this situation.
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Irritation in tendon
Sometimes, the metal bone plate applied to the risk starts irritating the tendon and that condition could be annoying. Physical therapy and medication may relieve this condition.