Joint Replacement & Fusion
Understanding Your Wrist / Hand Pain & Your Options
The wrist is made up of many joints and bones. It is probably the most
complex of all the joints in the body due to the fact that every small
carpal bone forms a joint with the bone next to it. Furthermore, ligaments
connect all the small bones to each other and to the radius, ulna, and
metacarpal bones. The ends of the bones are covered with an elastic tissue,
called cartilage. This cartilage creates a slick surface that enables
the bones to move smoothly.
If the cartilage is worn away or damaged by injury, infection, or disease,
the bones themselves will rub against each other, wearing out the ends
of the bones and causing a painful, arthritic condition. Arthritis of
the wrist and hand is a very common and complex problem, however, the
good news is that there are many surgical and nonsurgical treatment options
available. Determining which solution is best for your medical situation
will require the skill of a specialist. When you come to Hoag Orthopedic
Institute, our orthopedic specialized team will implement cutting-edge
technology, equipment, and resources to ensure the best treatment possible.
You have several options, depending on your condition, including:
Joint fusion: The arthritic surface is removed and the bones on each side of the joint
are fused together. Joint fusion may be used to relieve pain and correct
deformities that interfere with functioning. With a wrist fusion, you
will lose some motion but you will regain a strong wrist. This is especially
important if you work with your hands or need strength more than flexibility.
Wrist fusion is usually the best surgical option for patients who are active.
Joint reconstruction: The degenerated joint surface is removed in order to eliminate the rough,
irregular bone-to-bone contact that causes pain and restricts motion.
Once the degenerated portion of the joint surface is removed, it may be
replaced with rolled-up soft tissue, such as a tendon, or with a joint
replacement implant. Which type of surgery is used depends on the particular
joint involved, your activities, and your own needs. Your hand surgeon
can help you decide which type of surgery is the most appropriate for you.
The thumb basal joint, where the thumb meets the wrist, is often exposed
to very high stresses with normal activities. Arthritis of this joint
is very common. Patients with advanced disease or who fail non-surgical
treatment may be candidates for surgical reconstruction. A variety of
surgical techniques are available that can successfully reduce or eliminate
pain. Surgical procedures include removal of arthritic bone reconstruction,
joint fusion, bone realignment, and arthroscopy.
Why undergo a procedure at Hoag Orthopedic Institute?
The goal is to restore as much function as possible, as well as eliminate
or reduce pain to a tolerable level. At Hoag Orthopedic Institute, our
specialized team does everything in its power to make your treatment go
smoothly. For your convenience, we often schedule surgeries as an outpatient
procedure. All of our operating room equipment is state-of-the-art, and
the orthopedic surgeons aligned with Hoag Orthopedic Institute are experts
in leading edge surgeries. We also hold to a higher standard of care,
with a one-to-one or one-to-two nurse to patient ratio.
What to Expect Before and After Surgery
You may meet with a member of the Hoag physical therapy team prior to your
surgery in order to record baseline information regarding your condition.
They may also provide you with some of the exercises you’ll use
during your recovery. Following surgery, a cast will likely need to be
worn for the first several weeks. When the cast is removed, a protective
splint will need to be worn for the next six to eight weeks. Although
pain relief is immediate, gradual exercises will need to be done for several
weeks to restore movement and, eventually, to increase power and endurance.
Orthopedic Hand and Wrist Surgeons in Orange County
At Hoag Orthopedic Institute, our orthopedic surgeons have been recognized
as experts in wrist fusion and many other leading surgeries of the hand
and wrist. A majority of the treatment options for hand and wrist problems
can be performed at one of our convenient out-patient locations.
Get started by finding your physician at Hoag Orthopedic Institute today.