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wrist Wrist fusion

Discussion in 'Other Joints Forum' started by lennie, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. lennie

    lennie member
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    5½ years ago I fell and broke some bones in my right wrist. I had to have two surgeries and now I need wrist fusion. Anyone had it?


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  2. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Oh dear, how unfortunate! Do you know which bones are affected? Then I can editorialise.

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  3. lennie

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    I had a carpal row carpectomy 5 years ago after a nonunion surgery to repair the ligament. So the bones left. I have limited movement now. He is talking about fusing it around 30 degrees


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  4. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Bottom row or top row? I would expect he will use some bone graft which he might take from you or use bone bank bone. Either way, such a procedure could take about 6-8 weeks to fuse and another 4 weeks of exercising.
     
  5. lennie

    lennie member
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    The row closest to the ulna and radius


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  6. EmEm

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    @lennie, I had a left total wrist fusion in February 2016 having had problems with that hand for a long time. I had cortisone injections and eventually my GP referred me to a wrist surgeon who shocked me at the first appointment by mentioning fusion.

    He sent me for an MRI scan which showed the extent of the damage: 'severe degenerative change in the proximal and distal row of the carpus'. The surgeon tried a fluoroscopic guided cortisone injection which gave me short-lived pain relief. At the next appointment we agreed that fusion was the only way forward because I was finding it difficult to cope with the pain.

    I had the surgery as an in-patient where a 10cm titanium plate was put across the damaged joints which causes them to fuse. The immediate pain after surgery took a while to control but when I left hospital the next day I was on paracetamol - 1000mg 4 times a day which worked surprisingly well.

    I had a plaster slab, bandage and thick foam sling for 2 weeks and returned for an x-ray. I then had a lightweight fibreglass cast for 3 weeks. I am right-handed so I could do most things whilst in a cast. I bought a plastic waterproof sleeve for showering and a cast sleeve (stretchy fabric) because the fibreglass cast had edges that were a little rough.

    When the cast came off I had a wrist brace but was told to take it off frequently to exercise my fingers. Within a week I could move all of my fingers which impressed the physio. It was 8 weeks post surgery before I felt confident and strong enough to drive.

    Life with a fused wrist is different because although it rotates my hand does not flex at all. As it is my left wrist I can compensate using my right hand. I manage to work using a computer, drive, garden, cook and do crafts. Things that are more difficult to do - hold and peel vegetables; eat food that that requires cutting and is served in bowl (might be a UK trend), I tend to choose food when eating out that doesn't require a lot of cutting because I feel self-conscious but family and friends have told me that I am more aware of my hand than anyone around me.

    I also have trouble pulling on a handbrake in the car (in the UK we drive on the left so the handbrake is on my left) and prefer cars with a thicker steering wheel.

    My hand is not totally pain free because not all of the arthritic damage could be removed so that I could retain the ability to rotate my wrist. However I have a stronger usable hand than pre-surgery. I do not regret having it done!

    I wish you well if you choose to have the surgery. I went on to need a hip replacement too and think that my hand was actually more painful than my hip.
     
  7. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    @EmEm what a very excellent description of this surgery! May I use it in the Library?
     
  8. EmEm

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    @Josephine, please feel free to use it. After all the support I have received on the hip forum I would like to help someone else.
     
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  9. lennie

    lennie member
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    Thank you so, so much for the insight EmEm. I have this problem with my right hand which is my dominant hand so it will be any adjustment. My hand is becoming very troublesome though


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  10. lennie

    lennie member
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    It hurts to sign my name now. ☹️


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  11. EmEm

    EmEm member

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    I feel for you. I stopped being able to support the weight of a normal bath towel and found a really good quality microfibre one which I still use. Once my wrist was fused I gathered up all the different wrist supports I had used over the years and you could see that as it deteriorated they went from just stretchy material to full on braces with a metal splint and a thumb support.
    At least mine (the left) wasn't my dominant hand so the right hand did most of the work. The downside is that 2 years on my right hand is definitely deteriorating as well. I haven't had a cortisone shot in that wrist yet so think that may be in the near future.
     

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