Wrist Arthritis Surgery


You may have already experienced the difficulty of living with wrist arthritis like pain, swelling, weakness, and stiffness in your wrist. This might be making simple tasks and daily activities very difficult to accomplish. Wrist arthritis can be long-lasting and at times permanent. If it goes untreated wrist arthritis can cause joint damage, however there are many treatment options. Many patients are able to manage their symptoms and still enjoy the activities they love.

How to Prepare for Surgery

You won’t be able to eat the day you have surgery. You should be able to continue drinking water as normal. Just avoid drinking other beverages, like soda, juice, or milk. We may ask that you quit taking certain medications like aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs a few days before surgery. Make sure we know what medications you take regularly. Plan to wear loose fitting clothes that are easy to change into after surgery.


There are several surgical options we may suggest in order to treat your wrist arthritis pain. All of which are outpatient surgeries with regional anesthesia which means you get to return home after you wake up:

  • Proximal Row Carpectomy.​ The first option is where we will remove three bones in your wrist closest to the forearm. The hope is to reduce pain while maintaining your wrist motion.
  • Fusion.​ We will fuse together the two painful bones in hopes that they heal forming a single bone. The hope is that if the bones don’t move they shouldn’t hurt. We will remove the damaged cartilage and use medical devices to permanently hold the joint in place. We are able to perform partial fusions and complete fusions.
  • Total Wrist Replacement.​ The final option is a total wrist replacement.


After you wake up from surgery, if you had a fusion or joint replacement your wrist will be in a cast for anywhere between three and eight weeks. Once your splint or cast has been removed we may provide exercises for you to do at home or ask for you to attend physical therapy to regain strength and motion. You can expect a full recovery in three to six months depending on the severity of your wrist arthritis.


If you received a total wrist replacement we were able to eliminate the painful bone on bone rubbing you experienced. During the proximal row carpectomy three bones are removed in your wrist to provide more space for your bones to move pain free. The fusion surgery allows us to take two or more bones and surgically fuse them together as one preventing the painful rubbing.


Some patients still experience pain and limited mobility after surgery if you opted for proximal row carpectomy or fused surgery. Other possible complications include infection, blood loss, and nerve damage as with any surgery.


While arthritis is never fully cured, we are able to treat your pain and stiffness through surgery.

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