Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ

Question:

I'm going to have surgery on my wrist to fix a broken bone that hasn't healed. This may sound silly, but I don't want to have a scar across my wrist that looks like I slashed my wrist. Is there any way to avoid this?

Answer:

You should discuss your concerns with the surgeon. Surgery can have a major impact on your life. Anything that can help maintain or improve the quality of your life is worth mentioning. Cosmetic appearance is important and deserves attention.

The hand surgeon has three options for operating on the wrist. If an arthroscope is used, puncture holes are made where the scope enters the skin and pushes through the tissue into the joint. There may be only a tiny incision. The incision could be along the back of the wrist (dorsal), the front of the wrist (volar) or slightly between the two called dorsoradial.

Sometimes the location of the incision is determined based on the problem and the treatment for it. For example, when bone grafting is used, surgeons prefer the volar approach. Again, this refers to the inside of the wrist -- the area you are asking about.

If the fracture is on the side of the bone towards the wrist, a dorsal approach is used. The scope is inserted along the backside of the wrist. This method is not used if there is any concern about loss of blood supply to the bone.

You may have nothing to worry about if the surgeon has planned surgery from the dorsal side. Ask him or her to describe the operation for you. It's best to ask questions and express your concerns now before surgery. Thanapong Waitayawinyu, MD, et al. Scaphoid Nonunion. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. May 2007. Vol. 15. No. 5. Pp. 308-320.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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