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If you have a wrist fracture, you may need to have surgery to repair the damage.
If you are looking for an experienced wrist surgeon in the Marietta or Atlanta, Georgia area, our experts at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow can assist you. Schedule an appointment with us today to get you on the road to recovery!
A wrist fracture occurs when you have a crack or broken bone in your wrist joint. Within your forearm, you have two bones—the ulna and radius. The portion of the radius that connects to your wrist is called the distal radius.
If your radius breaks near the wrist, it is known as a distal radius fracture. Distal radius fractures are the most commonly broken bone in your wrist.
A distal radius fracture can be classified as either a Colles fracture or a Smith fracture, depending on the angle at which the distal radius breaks. One of the most common distal radius fractures is Colles fracture, in which a broken fragment or piece of your radius tilts upward.
Some of the symptoms of a distal radius fracture include:
Wrist fracture surgery is used to repair broken fragments or broken bones within your wrist. There are different types of surgery that can be used to fix your broken wrist. They are described in detail below.
Internal fixation is a surgical treatment usually performed using a small plate and screws to physically reconnect your bones and internally set and stabilize your bones. Once your bone heals, the plate will be removed, and a second surgery will be performed to complete the repair.
While less commonly used than internal fixation, an external fixator is a metal stabilizing frame placed outside your body to hold your bones in the proper position so they can heal properly if the soft tissues around your distal radius fracture have been severely damaged.
Some fractures can be treated without surgery by means of a splint or cast if the bone fragments are minimally displaced and remain in close connection.
However, for displaced fractures or if a fracture extends into your wrist, your surgeon may recommend fixation surgery for proper bone healing and improved alignment and function of your arm. Surgical intervention is usually considered for wrist fractures that cannot be corrected with a cast.
Before having a distal radius fracture repair surgery, there are steps you can take to prepare to make the surgical process run smoothly, including the following:
Wrist fracture surgery is performed with either regional or general anesthesia. Surgery is generally performed by the following steps:
During an external fixation surgery, your surgeon will place an external frame to hold the metal pins in place to help your injury heal and stabilize your wrist.
After you have had surgery to fix your fractured wrist, it generally takes two to three months to heal before you can return to participating in normal activities. For some, a full recovery can take up to one year. Since everyone is different, your doctor will be able to give you a more specific time frame for your recovery.
For pain management after your procedure, pain medications may be taken. You may go to hand therapy, which is similar to physical therapy, except that it is specifically tailored to your hand and wrist.
While no surgery is risk-free, the risk of major complications from distal radius surgery is low and can include:
If you suspect you may need surgery, schedule an appointment with Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in Marietta or Atlanta, GA today! Our trained specialists can give you the professional care you’re looking for.
Randall Alexander, MD