I am 33 years old and have severe rheumatoid arthritis in my wrist. The doctor says it's posttraumatic arthritis. I broke my wrist ice-skating years ago. I'm still too young for a wrist replacement. What are my other options?
There aren't too many choices for young, active patients. There's been some success using wrist replacements in older, less active patients.
Wrist fusion or partial fusion is one possibility. The results of partial fusion still aren't clear. Pain relief is unpredictable. Having some motion should improve function, but it doesn't always do so.
Many patients who have a partial fusion go on to have a complete fusion later. After the full fusion, some report they should have converted to a complete fusion sooner.
If you haven't already done so, a rehab program to manage pain and improve strength and function is also a possibility. A conservative approach always leaves room for the more invasive surgical treatment later.
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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