Wrist replacement


The traumatic injuries to wrist often cause severe damages to the wrist. These damages are mostly corrected by doing wrist replacement surgery. The surgery aims to replace the impaired bones with artificial components (prosthesis). An unresponsive wrist can, hence, be treated with this procedure. This technique is also known as total wrist arthroplasty.


The wrist replacement surgery is scheduled only after proper examination of the patient. Regional or general anesthesia is required to either numb a specific area of wrist or to put the person in sleep. Following the procedure, an incision is made at the back of the wrist. In order to access the wrist joint area, the tendons are moved in proper order. Afterwards, the first row of carpal bones along with damaged lower arm bones are removed. At the center of the lower arm radius bone, the radial portion of artificial components are inserted. The carpal component is then inserted into the empty space of carpal bones. Special bone cement is used to hold the artificial joint and components in position. The wound is covered with proper bandages. At the same time, a draining tube is also attached to the wound to prevent fluid accumulation in wound.


After surgery, the patients are closely monitored in hospital for a period of 24 hours. This helps to detect any joint infection or discomfort with new artificial components. The stitches are likely removed after 2 weeks of surgery. To avoid swelling and throbbing, it is advised to position the hand above the heart. After healing is over, the wrist is kept inside a cast for 4-6 weeks to hold wrist in neutral position. A simple physical therapy program is needed after healing to regain the mobility and flexibility of wrist. Lifting heavy weight should be completely avoided until recovery. The complete recovery takes a time of 3-6 months. The success of surgery lasts for a minimum of 10-15years.


As in any surgical procedure, some risks are involved:

  • Damage to prosthesis
  • Fracture
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Loosening of implants
  • Infection


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