Wrist replacement surgery, medically termed wrist arthroplasty, is a procedure aimed at replacing the radiocarpal joint, which connects the hand to the forearm. This surgical technique enhances the range of motion and alleviates pain, making it an option for individuals suffering from wrist arthritis or injuries. A newly artificial wrist joint typically has a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years.
During wrist replacement surgery, the damaged joint is removed and substituted with an artificial joint. The replacement component, known as a prosthesis, is commonly crafted from metal and includes a polyethylene (plastic) spacer. This prosthesis is designed to mimic the functionality of a healthy wrist. The medical term for this type of procedure is arthroplasty.
The wrist is a intricate joint comprising numerous small bones, serving as the linkage between your hand and forearm. Referred to as the radiocarpal joint, it plays a pivotal role in facilitating the rotation, bending, and straightening of the hand. These movements are crucial for everyday activities like waving, hair washing, typing, lifting objects, and numerous other daily tasks. When the wrist joint is significantly damaged or stiff, these routine activities can become uncomfortable and challenging.
When all other methods of treating arthritis-related wrist discomfort have failed, wrist replacement surgery is another alternative. Typical first-line, nonsurgical remedies include:
The following are the most typical conditions that might cause wrist pain:
Wrist arthroplasty can offer relief when alternative treatments have proven ineffective:
While infrequent, complications arising from wrist replacement may include:
Only an experienced orthopaedic surgeon with a preference for hand surgery should do wrist replacement. The bone and joint specialist will conduct the following before proposing the procedure:
An outpatient surgery center or hospital are both used for wrist replacement procedures. Typically, the process lasts under two hours.
The team doing the surgery will:
For the treatment of related issues with tendons, nerves, and the thumb or finger joints, wrist replacement surgery may be combined with additional operations.
After a total wrist replacement, it’s customary to immobilize the wrist with a splint covered in bandages. Additionally, a drainage tube is often inserted for approximately one day to assist in draining excess blood and prevent swelling.
The typical recovery period for wrist replacement surgery spans from six to twelve weeks. Following the removal of the cast, it’s likely that you will be instructed to wear a splint.
Your doctor will encourage you to engage in wrist-strengthening exercises, even though there might be some initial discomfort. Over time, these movements should become less painful and more manageable. Additionally, your surgeon may recommend physical or occupational therapy to assist in your recovery process.
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