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Arthroscopic Wrist Surgery

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At Garden State Orthopaedic Associates we offer a wide range of minimally invasive surgical options to reduce scarring and recovery time. Our board certified orthopaedic surgeons are highly trained and experienced in arthroscopic techniques that aid in accurate diagnosis and treatment for various wrist conditions and injuries. Using a tiny fiber optic camera, called an arthroscope, and specialized surgical tools, surgeons are able to explore the complex joint, bones, and soft tissues of the wrist and make repairs. Only small incisions, which are less than a half inch long, are necessary to allow for insertion of the arthroscopic tools. Arthroscopic surgery thus reduces risk of post-surgical complications and allows for faster healing.

For patients experiencing chronic wrist pain or those who have sustained a traumatic wrist injury, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended when diagnostic imaging methods are unable to reveal the source and nature of an internal problem. Any kind of surgery, however, is always a last resort and our orthopaedic surgeons typically exhaust a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatments before recommending arthroscopic wrist exploration and/or repair.

If you are experiencing wrist discomfort that continues to get worse, or have injured your wrist in any way, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled orthopaedic surgeons.

Benefits of Arthroscopic Wrist Surgery

Arthroscopic wrist surgery can be used to clarify a diagnosis in combination with a physical examination and imaging gathered through other diagnostic methods (X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound). Wrist arthroscopy can also be used as a minimally invasive way to treat and correct a variety of conditions and symptoms when more conservative methods have not provided sufficient relief. Arthroscopic techniques can be useful in detecting and treating:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Wrist fractures
  • Synovitis
  • Cartilage wear and damage (osteoarthritis)
  • Ganglion cysts
  • Ligament tears
  • Chronic wrist pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Joint infection

When performed correctly by a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who is highly trained in arthroscopic wrist surgery, this technique can offer a multitude of advantages over traditional wrist surgery:

  • Less trauma to the skin and tissues
  • Can help fine tune diagnosis
  • Reduced healing time
  • Minimal scarring
  • Fewer potential complications
  • Precise repair
  • Less postoperative swelling and discomfort

Surgery should always be viewed as a last resort. Our surgeons exhaust every non-surgical option before recommending arthroscopic wrist surgery to appropriate candidates.

What Happens During Arthroscopic Wrist Surgery?

In order to perform arthroscopic wrist surgery, the wrist must be firmly positioned and stabilized. Once the patient has been anesthetized, the forearm and fingers are placed in a traction device, which holds the wrist in place during the procedure and optimizes access to the surgical entry points (called “portals”). Small incisions are made in the appropriate areas and the surgical instruments are able to slide in to examine and/or treat the affected area(s). The surgeon may utilize either a wet or dry technique to aid in visualization or the repair process. Once the goals of the procedure have been achieved, the incisions are closed and the wrist is bandaged and immobilized.

Recovery from Arthroscopic Wrist Surgery

After surgery, it is important to elevate the wrist to discourage swelling and minimize pain. Oral medications can help manage any discomfort following the procedure. Physical therapy is often recommended soon after surgery to restore mobility and range of motion. At Garden State Orthopaedic Associates our surgeons create customized surgical and rehabilitation plans based on the unique needs of each patient. The length of your recovery will depend on the specific details of your procedure and the nature of any repairs performed. At every stage of your treatment your surgeon will keep you abreast of what to expect and make sure you are well informed about the progress of your healing. Following your treatment plan, attending all recommended therapeutic sessions, and adhering to your surgeon’s instructions can help you to achieve an optimal degree of healing.

If you have questions about how arthroscopic wrist surgery can provide you with relief from your chronic wrist pain, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced orthopaedic surgeons.