If you have had a painful wrist for quite some time and it has failed to respond to measures such as rest, physiotherapy or splinting, it is possible that an arthroscopy may help treat your wrist or at least help to diagnose the cause of your pain. Scans can be helpful but do not always find the cause as the structures in the wrist are very small. There are two rows of bones in the wrist and we look in both rows to fully inspect the joint.
Some things may be treated there and then while you have the arthroscopy but some conditions need more major surgery and the arthroscopy helps your surgeon to plan this. In this case your surgeon can better inform you what you can expect in the future should you need further surgery.
If you have been listed for arthroscopic surgery of your wrist this is what you can expect:
The operation is done as a Day Case, under a general anaesthetic. During the operation your hand is prepared with antiseptic solution and a tourniquet is put on your arm, similar to a blood pressure cuff. Your arm is supported gently from the fingers so your wrist can be moved and examined inside and out.
After the operation your hand will be bandaged for the first five to seven days. Small dressings keep the wounds covered up and your own GP practice can inspect these at seven to 14 days after your operation. Painkillers are often not needed but you will be given some in case.
You will be encouraged to keep your hand elevated for the first few days after surgery and to move all of your fingers straightaway. It is a straightforward operation. Most people return to work after one to two weeks. If you have any questions about your operation please don t hesitate to ask your surgeon when you sign your consent form.
Published by Ms Lisa Tourett FRCS
Version 1.00 Jan 2009