What to Expect During and After Wrist Arthroscopy

by John
Wrist Arthroscopy

The wrist is a complex joint with eight tiny bones and several connecting ligaments; it is prone to injuries and conditions like any other body part. Specialists use wrist arthroscopy Chula Vista to diagnose chronic pain that won’t improve with nonsurgical treatment and treat various wrist problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts, and wrist fractures.

Unlike traditional surgery, arthroscopy utilizes a small fiber-optic instrument called an arthroscope to enable a surgeon to see inside your joints without making large incisions. Therefore, you may have less pain and recover faster than open surgery.

Wrist arthroscopy procedure

You will receive regional anesthesia to numb your arm and wrist area so that you don’t feel pain. Your specialist may also administer medicine to make you sleepy during the operation. The surgeon makes a small incision on your wrist during the procedure and inserts the arthroscope into the punctures. The scope has a tiny video camera connected to a monitor in the operating room, allowing the surgeon to view the inside of your wrist.

The surgeon maneuvers the scope to inspect all your wrist tissues, including tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. If tissues need repair, the surgeon makes other incisions to insert tiny instruments through them. Damages such as a tear in the tendon, muscle, or cartilage are fixed, and the surgeon removes any damaged tissue. Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon closes the incisions with stitches and dresses the surgical site.

What to expect after wrist arthroscopy

Your wrist will be swollen, and you will feel tired for several days. You may notice some discoloration on the skin around the incisions; this is normal and usually subsides within a few days. Elevating your arm above your heart can help alleviate swelling and pain. The discomfort and pain are typically mild, but your doctor can prescribe analgesic medications. You will probably take about six weeks to recover fully but when you can resume your usual routine depends on the kind of surgery you had.

For example, recovery may take longer if the procedure was done to repair damaged tissue than you would if surgery was for diagnostic purposes. You may have to avoid using the repaired wrist for strenuous activities until your wrist strength and movement are back to normal.

Care after wrist arthroscopy

  • Avoid using your arm for repeated movements such as typing, painting, and vacuuming. Your doctor will tell you how often you can move your wrist.
  • Rest when you feel tired and ensure you get adequate sleep to promote recovery. Although rest is vital, try to walk every day; physical activity encourages blood flow which is essential in wound healing.
  • Don’t lift anything that would strain you, including heavy grocery bags, a child, a heavy briefcase, or milk containers.
  • If you have a sling, use it as your doctor instructs.
  • Usually, no diet changes are necessary but if your stomach is upset, try bland low-fat foods such as yogurt, broiled chicken,  and plain rice.

If you have any wrist problems, book an appointment with your doctor at Ortho 1 Medical Group to know how you can benefit from wrist arthroscopy.

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