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Wrist News

Wrist Fusion Does Not Stop Pain

A surgeon at the Hand Center in Boston treated 38 patients with wrist arthritis. All had been in an accident or had a wrist fracture. All were treated with a wrist fusion for chronic pain and instability. Patients were asked how the loss of wrist motion has affected their arm function.

Patients were interviewed and examined at the Hand and Upper Extremity Center. General health was evaluated. Unlike patients with rheumatoid arthritis, most patients with post-traumatic arthritis were in good overall health. No other joints were involved.

Arm pain, grip strength, and function were also measured. More than half the patients still had pain. Grip strength was 20 percent less than the uninvolved side.

Patients were asked if they would have another operation to restore motion if it was available. Almost everyone agreed they would have another operation if it could make their wrist move again. This was true even for patients who said they were satisfied with the results of their fusion.

The authors conclude patients who sacrifice wrist motion for comfort and function would still like their full motion back.

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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