What is a Total Wrist Fusion?
A wrist fusion is an operation to stiffen the wrist permanently and aims to control pain in an arthritic wrist. This is achieved by fusing the small bones of the hand or wrist (carpals) to the radius (forearm bone). A plate and screws are used to hold the hand bones (carpals/metacarpals) and the forearm bone (Radius) together until they fuse into one bone.
This procedure is well suited for a painful arthritic wrist that stops you from doing your routine daily activities.
What does a Total Wrist Fusion entail?
A total wrist fusion is normally performed as day-case surgery under a general anaesthetic or a regional block (Where the arm is made numb using an injection).
The wrist will be placed in a plaster cast for 6-8 weeks, and a splint may be needed for another 6-8 weeks. This is the procedure recommended for most patients with wrist arthritis. A wrist fusion is the most reliable way to achieve pain relief and good function. If you have a manual job, a very active lifestyle, or use a walking aid in the affected hand (especially if it was the dominant hand), wrist fusion is the recommended surgery with reliable long-term results.
As the name suggests, this procedure takes away all movements at the wrist joint.
Total wrist joint replacement is another procedure which is done for an arthritic wrist which preserves wrist movements. Wrist replacement has limitations and is usually suitable for very low functional demand patients and might need revision into a wrist fusion in future.
Objectives of a Total Wrist Fusion
The objective of a total wrist joint fusion is to give you a pain-free wrist which allows you to do all routine activities, including manual work.