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What is Wrist Fusion?
Wrist fusion, also known as total wrist arthrodesis, is a surgical procedure that combats the issue of arthritis in the wrist. The procedure sees the damaged surface of the wrist joint’s removed, with a plate or rod then screwed to the bones to hold them together, allowing them to fuse and heal. In some cases, bone might need to be grafted from the hip or pelvis for the procedure.
The main benefit of wrist fusion surgery is the treatment of severe arthritis in the wrist. Pain is dramatically reduced, and the wrist will become stronger.
The main thing to bear in mind about wrist fusion surgery is that the wrist will no longer be moveable, due to the wrist joint being replaced by the fusing of the wrist and hand bones. The wrist will no longer be able to move up and down, but not all movement is lost, with the hand being able to turn, still.
As with any big surgical procedure, there are risks, including but not limited to:
- Damage to nerves and blood vessels in the surgery area
- Irritation of the tendons
- Non-union – the bones may not fuse as they should, meaning a second procedure may need to be carried out, adding more bone graft and ensuring pins/plates are properly holding the bones together and keeping them still.