The thought of wrist surgery can be intimidating. After all, your hands are essential to most of your activities, and surgery is no laughing matter. However, don’t worry — improvements in medical technology have given rise to minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgery decreases the stress on your body and reduces recovery time, scarring, complications, and pain.
Still, if you have upcoming wrist surgery, it’s best to prepare beforehand. To help you plan, we’ve created a guide on what you can expect before, during, and after your procedure.
When to Consider Wrist Surgery
There are situations where surgery is the best solution for hand and wrist conditions. For instance, severe arthritis can limit the movement in your hands and cause swelling and pain. If the aching gets unbearable and you are unable to move your hands, your doctor may recommend wrist surgery.
Another common reason for wrist surgery is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition arises from the compression of the median nerve in the wrist. Additionally, traumatic injuries that result in broken wrists merit a visit to a specialist. In some cases, fractured wrists require surgery.
Overall, if your wrist concerns significantly interfere with your quality of life and non-invasive treatments aren’t working, it is time to consider wrist surgery.
Preparations Before Wrist Surgery
Before surgery, your doctor will perform tests to assess the severity of your condition. Tests may include diagnostic imaging tests as well as movement and mobility tests. The results of imaging tests will help your doctor see the damage inside your hand and wrist. Your doctor will also review your medical history to see if you are fit for surgery.
Before the procedure, try to be as healthy as possible. Stay active, eat balanced meals, and get ample sleep, especially the day before your surgery.
Wrist Surgery Options
Due to advancements in technology, surgical procedures have become less invasive. For patients with arthritis, arthroplasty now requires only a tiny incision to treat wrist joints. As a result, there won’t be much damage to the tissues surrounding your joints, leading to faster recovery.
Experts have also developed a minimally invasive procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome— endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery. As its name suggests, it makes use of an endoscope. This device allows your surgeon to view your carpal tunnel without having to make a large incision.
Remember, you have options when it comes to your wrist surgery. Ask your orthopedic surgeon if they perform minimally invasive procedures to treat your condition.
During Wrist Surgery
During surgery, your doctor will administer anesthesia to numb the area. Once you’re comfortable, they will make a small incision to access and treat the damaged parts of the wrist. The length of the procedure varies depending on the type of surgery and the severity of your condition. You can ask your orthopedic surgeon how long the procedure will take beforehand, so you can prepare yourself mentally.
Most wrist surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, meaning that there’s no need for you to be admitted to the hospital overnight. You will be able to return home almost immediately after your procedure. Before the surgery, make arrangements to have someone drive you to and from the hospital.
Recovering from Wrist Surgery
After your wrist surgery, you may experience some pain and swelling at the site of the procedure. Your doctor can prescribe pain medications to help ease your discomfort. While the risks are minimal, contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Severe pain
- Redness, warmth, or discharge at the surgery site
Ask your physical therapist and doctor how long you should go on leave or take a break from physical activities. Depending on the procedure, recovery time can range from 4-12 weeks. Stay in touch with your doctor and attend follow-up appointments.
You can expect to undergo physical therapy for your rehabilitation. A physical therapist will work with you to improve your wrist flexibility and mobility as you heal. They will do so through a treatment plan composed of a series of exercises and stretches.
Wrist Surgery in Jessup, MD
If you’re searching for a wrist specialist, the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland welcomes you to our Jessup clinic. We also have several locations in Maryland that you can visit.
We are proud to offer many conservative and surgical procedures. Our facilities are also equipped with digital X-rays, MRIs, and physical therapy, which will be used before, during, and after your treatment.
To make an appointment, call (410) 644-1880 or request one online. We look forward to helping you get your wrist back in top shape!