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wrist Wrist fusion

Discussion in 'Other joint replacements discussion 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, DIRECTOR Administrator

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

    wrist.jpg
     
  3. lennie

    lennie member
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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, 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, 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

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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

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    It hurts to sign my name now. ☹️


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  11. EmEm

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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.
     
  12. lennie

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    I had the fusion this past Monday 26th. So far pain management is good. My work partner (I’m a paramedic) kids that I am going full cyborg.


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  13. Jaycey

    Jaycey SUPER MODERATOR Moderator

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    @lennie Well done on having your fusion. Please let us know how you are doing. Your experience will help others considering traveling down this road.

    Very glad to hear your pain is well managed.
     
  14. EmEm

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    @lennie, I hope you are doing OK today and that the pain is still well controlled. I only had paracetamol (Tylenol) but having the cast and sling helped a lot. I expect you will see a lot of swelling and bruising around your fingers after a few days - I looked like I had been in a fight!
     
  15. lennie

    lennie member
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    It is bruised past my elbow!!


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  16. EmEm

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    It will fade and the end result will be worth it. I saw my hand surgeon on Wednesday and he was very proud of his handiwork two years on! The scar is very neat and barely visible. I'm having an MRI of my other wrist next Friday to see whether a steroid injection would help calm things down.
     
  17. lennie

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  18. Jaycey

    Jaycey SUPER MODERATOR Moderator

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    How are your pain levels @lennie ? Do you need to keep the hand elevated?
     
  19. lennie

    lennie member
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    I am keeping it elevated. Pain at night is bad. Daytime not so much.


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  20. EmEm

    EmEm member

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    How are you doing today @lennie? Are you coping with the pain now? The problem with the plaster cast is that you can't ice the area easily. My hand got really hot in the plaster cast so I would sit and hold a small ice pack.
    Have you managed to have a shower? I had a waterproof sleeve that worked well.
     
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