Will my hand be stiff after undergoing a wrist arthrodesis?
No. This is a very common misconception. A wrist arthrodesis involves the rigidification of the wrist, not the hand. All fingers will retain full mobility and the hand can still be turned.
As concerned patient you may want to try on a wrist cuff to get an idea on how a wrist arthrodesis would affect the mobility of your wrist (please refer to image).
Such wrist cuff will allow you to retain full mobility of all fingers as well as to turn your hand.
The image shows a right wrist that underwent arthrodesis. As a consequence of the arthrodesis it will no longer be possible for the patient to move the wrist into an extended or flexed position, nor can he perform ulnar or radial motions.
A total wrist fusion will result in the inability to perform flexing or extending motions as well as ulnar and radial motions. Only in case of complications may the mobility of the fingers be affected as well.
When should an arthrodesis of the wrist be reversed?
A wrist arthrodesis is a large and non-reversible intervention which therefore requires careful evaluation.
What exactly is a wrist arthrodesis?
In a healthy wrist extending, flexing, ulnar and radial motions may take place without effort.
A wrist arthrodesis requires the removal of the articular cartilage as well as the locking in of the radius to the metacarpal bone of the middle finger in order to prevent any motion!
What other surgical options are there to a wrist arthrodesis?
Typically there are three different procedures to choose from when dealing with a severely damaged wrist:
- The denervation of the wrist joint (This procedure refers to the severance of the pain nerves which are responsible for transmitting the pain impulse from the wrist to the brain)
- A partial fusion of the wrist
- The implantation of an artificial wrist joint