Wrist fractures and how to treat them with surgery

Wrist fractures and how to treat them with surgery

Posted on 05/07/2019

The wrist is comprised of eight small bones which connect to the two long bones that make up your forearm. These forearm bones are called the radius and ulna and the radius is the most common bone involved in a wrist fracture. Unfortunately, wrist fractures are fairly common occurrences and although there are many different reasons for someone to experience one, the most common cause of a wrist fracture is a fall where the patient has put their hands out to stop themselves from hitting the floor. Often, the force of their hands against the floor can cause bones in the wrist and forearm to break. If you suffer from osteoporosis, you have weak bones and this puts you at greater risk of experiencing any sort of broken bone including a wrist fracture.


Symptoms of a wrist fracture

You probably have a wrist fracture if you experience any or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain and tenderness in the wrist/forearm

  • Swelling and bruising around the wrist

  • Difficulty moving the arm, wrist or hand

  • Your wrist is twisted at an odd angle

  • You hear an audible snap or grinding noise at the time of your injury

  • Tingling and numbness in the forearm, wrist or hand

  • Bleeding (if the bone has broken through the skin)

The severity of your symptoms will often depend on the extent of the fracture to your bone. However, the symptoms of a significant sprain are not dissimilar to those listed above and so it is essential that you get checked out by a professional who may need to x-ray your wrist to determine the extent of your injury.


When is surgical treatment needed for a wrist fracture and what can I expect?

In minor wrist fractures, splinting the wrist and/or wearing a cast for a. number of weeks is usually sufficient to enable the bones to heal so that you can regain use of your wrist and arm. However, in the case of more serious fractures, surgical intervention may be necessary. This is needed if the bones cannot be correctly re-aligned and secured using just a cast and may involve the use of wires, screws, rods and/or plates inside your wrist and forearm to support the bones as they heal. You will then still need to wear a cast to protect your arm while the bones heal.


Why is wrist fracture surgery needed?

Wrist fracture surgery is important as if the bone heals in a bad position, it can potentially cause deformity and affect the way in which you can use your hand and arm in your everyday life. If it isn’t possible to set the bone correctly using just a cast, surgery will be needed to secure the bones into the proper position.


What will happen during my wrist fracture surgery?

Surgery for a wrist fracture is carried out while you are under the effects of a general anesthetic, which means that you won’t be awake, feel any pain or have any memory of the procedure. However, you may not be able to go home immediately afterwards and could have to stay in the case of our team for up to 48 hours while we ensure that all of the effects of the general anesthetic have worn off and your bones have started to heal correctly.

Exactly what will happen during your wrist fracture surgery will depend on where the fracture is and how severely damaged your bone is. Your surgeon will be happy to talk you through what you can expect to take place during your procedure during your consultation appointment.


What will happen after my wrist fracture surgery?

As with any invasive procedure, you will need to give yourself time to recover and heal after your wrist fracture surgery. This means taking time off of work, and ensuring your hand and arm are given plenty of rest. You will be given pain relief that should be taken exactly as directed, and we may refer you for physical therapy. This is an important step in your rehabilitation as it will help you to recover motion, strength and function in your hand and wrist.


If you would like more information on wrist fractures and how to treat them with surgery, please contact our offices today to speak to our experienced and knowledgeable team.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.