Wrist Fusion After Injury: Trading Motion for Pain ReliefResearchers from the Hand and Upper Extremity Clinic in Boston, MA take a look at this question. They looked at general health, patient satisfaction, and function of the arm and hand as measures of outcome.
Twenty-two patients with posttraumatic arthritis had a wrist fusion called arthrodesis. The authors reviewed type of injuries leading up to the need for wrist fusion. The method of surgery was also reviewed.
Most patients said they would have this operation again if needed. Hoever they would gladly have another surgery to restore motion if it was possible. Although the pain was improved after fusion, most patients still had some pain rated from mild to severe.
The authors conclude patients with painful posttraumatic wrist arthritis may have to give up motion to get pain relief. Wrist arthrodesis doesn't get rid of all pain but does improve function.
Lauren Adey, MD et al. Health Status After Total Wrist Arthrodesis for Posttraumatic Arthritis. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. September 2005. Vol. 30A. No. 5. Pp. 932-936.
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