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How to prepare for Total Wrist Fusion

  • This procedure is done as a day case, meaning you will be allowed to go home the same day with no overnight stay in the hospital. Very occasional social or medical conditions require an overnight stay.
  • Before you come into the hospital, remove any rings from the hand, and if you are unwell or have any cuts on your hand or arm, please inform us before the day, as this may require your operation to be delayed. 
  • If you smoke, it is best to stop or reduce as much as possible. This will help with the union at the fusion site.  
  • If you are diabetic, you will reduce your risk of infection and poor wound healing by keeping your blood sugars stable. 
  • You must starve for your surgery. You may have a general anaesthetic where you go to sleep or a Nerve block (this is where you are awake but have a numbing injection in your armpit and the whole arm is numb for 12 hours); this block can be done with or without sedation. You must not eat, drink or chew gum for 6 hours before you come to the hospital. 
  • You will be seen by the anaesthetist, who will check your current health and ask specific questions about medications and when you have last eaten or drank. They will then discuss the details of the anaesthetic, including the process and risks and answer any questions you have. 
  • Surgery can take 90-120 min. Your surgeon will make a cut a few centimetres long over the top of your wrist. They will carefully prepare the joint surfaces of the wrist bones and secure the wrist with a plate and screws. Sometimes a bone graft is also inserted at the fusion site, which can be taken from the Pelvic / Hip bone. The wound will be closed with stitches. You will have a Back slab/half plaster cast around your wrist at the end of the procedure to support he wrist fusion and an arm sling to elevate your hand.
  • You should have someone to take you home and be with you overnight after the operation.
  • At 10-14 days, you will be seen to check the dressings, and a new Full plaster cast will be applied for a further 4-6 week duration. 
  • Please attend all dressing, doctor and hand therapy appointments after surgery and follow instructions on hand exercises to get the best function and recover following surgery.
  • You will have your plaster cast converted to a wrist brace when the surgeon is happy with the progress of union at the fusion site, as seen on x-rays. This is usually at the 6-8 week mark.

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One Health Group utilises specialist consultants and healthcare managers working together to provide the best possible diagnosis and treatment for our patients.