Distal radial fractures are the most common form of wrist fracture, and many of these can be treated without surgery. However, some of the more severe cases of this type of injury do require an operation to restore the bone to its proper position and prevent it from moving out of place until it is sufficiently healed. If you or someone you love have experienced such an injury, you may be wondering how to prepare for distal radial fracture surgery in case the doctor recommends this course of treatment, based on your particular condition. At Rothman Institute, we are dedicated to helping patients like you understand and receive the treatments they need at every stage of recovery.
Who Needs Distal Radial Fracture Surgery?
Wrist fractures are common injuries, and among all of the potential variations of this sort of a break, distal radial fractures are the most common. These refer to fractures of the radius (one of the long bones of the forearm) at the end closest to the wrist and hand. In many cases, a period of bracing or casting is sufficient for holding the bones in their proper places while they heal. However, in certain situations, surgery may be necessary.
In cases of a distal radial fracture in which the bones have fragmented or shifted out of place, surgery may be necessary to hold them firmly in place while they heal. Often, one small plate and several screws are used to maintain this position. However, an alternative surgical approach may involve pins to achieve a similar effect.
If, after evaluating your injury using a physical examination as well as X-rays, your doctor recommends a surgical approach, you next questions will most like be about how to prepare for distal radial fracture surgery.
How to Prepare For Distal Radial Fracture Surgery
Step One: Find An Orthopaedic Specialist
First and foremost, you want to find an experienced orthopaedic specialist who can perform your operation. Looking for someone who has specialized in treatment of the hand and wrist will be especially helpful, because she or he will have an in-depth understanding of this area of orthopaedics, as well as the latest in technology and techniques that may be used to treat your injury. If you are in the Philadelphia area, you can find such specialists at the nearby Rothman Institute. Our hand and wrist team performs hundreds of these procedures each year and can provide you with the expert service and compassionate care you need.
Step Two: Schedule Your Appointment
Once you have selected your surgeon, schedule your appointment. Typically, this should be done as soon as possible after the injury has occurred and a diagnosis has been achieved. In the brief time between your initial assessment and your surgical treatment, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions regarding bracing or immobilization to avoid further injury.
At your initial appointment with your doctor, be sure to share all of the necessary information about your injury as well as your overall health and your medical history to ensure the best possible outcome.
Step Three: Prepare For Recovery
After your procedure, you can typically expect your wrist to be immobilized throughout a brace or cast for several weeks. During this time, you may require assistance with certain day to day tasks, including grocery shopping or driving. Be sure to arrange for the help you will need prior to your procedure, including a ride home after your surgery.
Step Four: Follow Through On Recovery
Finally, remember that your recovery continues even after the surgery has been performed. In addition to a period of bracing, your doctor may recommend that you visit a physical therapist or perform certain exercises to regain your strength after the bones have healed. Following all of your doctor’s instructions about post-operative care is imperative to ensure the best possible recovery.
For more information about how to prepare for distal radial fracture surgery with Rothman Institute, contact us today at 1.800.321.9999.