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Total Wrist Fusion

When to consider a Wrist fusion?

When non-operative treatments have failed to control the pain and the pain is:

  • Moderate to severe
  • Constant/ all the time
  • Affecting sleep
  • Stopping you from carrying out activities of daily living

What to expect after a Total Wrist Fusion.

After a Total Wrist Fusion you will be in POP for 6 weeks to allow the bone to heal & ‘fuse’/ stick together. Initially you will be in a backslab for 10-14 days – at this point you will be seen by the consultant, your wound will be checked before being put into a full POP for a further 4 weeks.

At 6 weeks you will be taken out of plaster and an X-Ray performed. At this point you may be provided with a splint to be worn for protection – you will need to keep this on to protect the fusion as the bones will still be healing.

You will not be able to do any ‘heavy’lifting/ strenuous activity with the wrist for around 12-14 weeks. You may need to see a hand therapist to give some exercises and advice to help maintain movement in your fingers and manage the scar after the operation.

Things to consider before having a Wrist Fusion:

  • Risk of infection through surgery
  • Risk of nerve injury/ neuroma (a painful spot on / near the nerve) through injury/ swelling.
  • Rehabilitation can take between 4-12 months
  • Risk that the wrist may not fuse and therefore require further surgery
  • Risk of tendon irritation which may mean the plate has to be removed
  • Risk of problematic scar tissue. After the operation there is a risk that you may have problems with scarring including tender/ sensitive scarring. Thick/ hard scarring causing reduced movement
  • Risk of Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (RSD). Can also be known as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (a malfunction of the nervous system that controls your pain)

Related Advice Articles

An overview of the Hand and Wrist

An overview of the Hand and Wrist

Hands and wrists play a big part in our everyday life. They enable us to drive, play sports, work, cook, and eat — almost everything you do will demand something from your hands and wrists.

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