What Are Some of the Most Common Wrist Surgeries Performed by Orthopedic Surgeons?

orthopedic surgeon treating injured patient's hand

What Are Some of the Most Common Wrist Surgeries Performed by Orthopedic Surgeons?

Whether you’re writing a note, typing on a keyboard, or chopping onions, you use your wrists regularly throughout your day every day. Thanks to how heavily the wrists are used, they are particularly prone to injury.

Constant use of the wrist can lead to chronic wrist pain. Let’s look at the most common surgeries performed on the wrist, and where you can go in Southwest Colorado for excellent orthopedic care.

Anatomy of the Wrist

The wrist, or carpus, is a freely movable joint that can rotate in various directions. Its immense flexibility is delivered by its collection of eight small carpal bones:

  • Scaphoid
  • Lunate
  • Triquetrum
  • Pisiform
  • Trapezium
  • Trapezoid
  • Capitate
  • Hamate

Various ligaments connect and hold these eight bones together. Six main muscles allow you to flex, extend, and bend your hand via the wrist. A network of nerves and tendons also runs through the wrist, allowing hand movement and sensation.

Most Common Wrist Surgeries Performed by an Orthopedic Surgeon

If your wrist pain is chronic or debilitating, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgical treatment such as one of the following:

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

The carpal tunnel is a passageway in the wrist that houses the median nerve. The tunnel is surrounded by carpal bones and ligaments.

Inflammation or physical pressure can cause the carpal tunnel to narrow, thereby compressing and irritating the median nerve inside. When this happens, you can experience numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the hand.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of peripheral nerve disorder. Carpal tunnel release is a procedure that an orthopedic surgeon performs to widen the tunnel by cutting a carpal ligament, which releases more room for the median nerve.

Whereas carpal tunnel release surgery requires a 2-inch incision, endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery involves two smaller incisions. The doctor inserts an endoscope through one of the incisions, and camera functionality on the end of the endoscope allows the surgeon to see inside the carpal tunnel. The other incision allows the orthopedic surgeon to cut the ligament.

Both procedures immediately ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Post-surgery, your muscle strength can improve, and carpal tunnel syndrome recurrence isn’t likely.

Wrist Fracture Repair

Treating this injury involves multiple stages and, depending on its severity, may require wrist surgery to ensure the break can heal properly.

Scaphoid and distal radius fractures are two of the most common wrist fractures:

  • Scaphoid fracture. This occurs when your scaphoid bone – the small wrist bone adjacent to the base of your thumb – is broken.
  • Distal radius fracture. The radius is the forearm bone on the side of your thumb. The distal radius is the part of the bone which is attached to the wrist joint. When the radius breaks near the wrist, a distal radius fracture occurs. 

During the procedure, your orthopedic doctor may fasten the bone fragments together using plates, rods, pins, and screws to keep the bone in place. After the surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will continue to monitor the healing progress of your fracture.

Wrist Fusion Surgery

Also known as wrist arthrodesis, wrist fusion surgery aims to join multiple carpal bones together in order to prevent continued debilitating pain in the wrist. This procedure can be performed to treat wrist arthritis, fractures, wrist ligament injuries, and diseases that affect the wrist.

During this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will insert plates and screws onto the appropriate carpal bones in order to enable them to fuse together naturally. After the surgery, you should find that your grip strength has improved, your wrist movement is more stable, and previous symptoms are alleviated.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Gunnison and Crested Butte, CO

Your wrists play a vital role in your daily routine, and medical conditions and injuries affecting your hand and wrist can negatively impact your day-to-day life. Depending on your condition, wrist surgery may be a viable treatment option upon your orthopedic physician’s recommendation.

Here at gO Orthopedics, we have a team of expert orthopedic surgeons who can assess, diagnose, and successfully treat your wrist pain. We are one of Colorado’s leading orthopedic practices, and we are dedicated to providing our patients with personalized and comprehensive care.

If you have concerns about your wrist, call us today at (970) 641-8899 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to serving you!

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