Hand and Wrist Surgery for Arthritis – Is It a Good Treatment Option?
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may cause serious damage to the joints, ligaments and bones on the hand and wrist. One of the treatment options is to have hand and wrist surgery. It is worth looking at this option in greater detail so that you can decide whether it is for you or not.
The first thing that should be pointed out is that hand and wrist surgery for arthritis is often recommended as a last resort. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, thanks to the advancement of medicine, this condition affecting the joints and mobility, in general, can be effectively managed with medication and other forms on non-invasive treatment. In fact, the progression of rheumatoid arthritis can even be fully stopped with the appropriate treatment. On the other hand, surgery is an invasive procedure and hides all sorts of risk, including temporary or permanent inability to use the hand normally. In addition, its effectiveness may not be as high as needed.
These are just generalizations, however. There are different types of hand and wrist surgery for arthritis that are needed in different cases. They involve different procedures and produce different results.
There is a surgical procedure for treating carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel ligament that passes over the median nerve in the wrist is divided so that it no longer presses the nerve and causes pain. This surgery is done under local anesthetic. It involves an overnight stay in a hospital and has a very short recovery period.
Dupuytren’s contracture fasciotomy, trigger finger release surgery and ganglion cyst removal surgery are procedures that treat deformities in the hand due to arthritis that cause discomfort and a level of disability. These procedures are generally simple and safe, but the recovery period involves some rehabilitation. In addition, the damage control achieved with the hand and writs surgery may not be full.
Knuckle joint replacement surgery may be necessary if the fingers are severely deformed and/or if pain in them is severe. The recovery period is long lasting and involves daily rehabilitation. In the end, you will no longer feel pain, but your hand will not be as flexible as before while your grip will not be as strong as before.
Thumb surgery can be performed on the thumb knuckle or on the base joint. The former procedure usually involves just stiffening of the knuckle joint. Even though you will no longer be able to move it, this is procedure is not disabling. Patients keep using their thumbs and hands normally. The base joint may be replaced with a capsule formed by other ligaments or by an artificial joint. In this way, you will be able to use your thumb, even though movement will be somewhat impaired.
Wrist joint fusion and wrist joint replacement are procedures that are very invasive and require long-term rehabilitation and comprehensive post-surgery treatment, in general. You may be unable to use your hand and wrist even for simple tasks during the first few weeks after the hand and wrist surgery.
Now you know all about hand and wrist surgery, so you can make a well-informed decision.