Wrist-Fracture-Surgery

How to Care for Your Body After Wrist Fracture Surgery

Pedro K. Beredjiklian, M.D. July 12th, 2016

If you or a loved one is anticipating surgery to repair a wrist fracture, you'll want to follow these important steps after you leave the operating room

Wrist fractures can happen in an instant, but recovery takes time. Whether you broke your wrist from falling, playing a sport, or in an accident, prompt, appropriate treatment for your injury is crucial to regaining and maintaining strength and range of motion. While there are numerous treatment options for wrist fractures, some injuries may require surgical repair due to their location or severity.

If you or a loved one is anticipating wrist fracture surgery, you may be wondering what to expect, both during and after the procedure. At Rothman Institute we are dedicated to helping patients like you understand their treatment needs at every step of recovery. If you're looking for information about what to expect during and after your procedure, read on.

Surgical Treatments for Your Wrist Fracture

While some wrist fractures can be treated without surgery, if your doctor has recommended forearm fracture surgery, it's important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Surgeons generally agree that there is a two week window after an injury where wrist fracture surgery can be performed without being complicated by the early stages of bone healing. During this time period, you and your doctor will need to decided whether to go ahead with your wrist fracture surgery or not.

If you decide to proceed, your doctor will advise you about which type of wrist fracture surgery would be best for your particular health needs. Fracture surgery, medically referred to as "fixation" because it "fixes" your bones into their correct places for proper healing, comes in a few types.

  • Internal Fixation

A small incision is made, a stabilizing plate and pins or screws are fixed to the bone, and the incision is closed. Assuming there are no complications, this hardware does not need to be removed, however, you and your doctor can opt for a second surgery to take it back out after the bone has completely healed.

  • Percutaneous Fixation

Percutaneous, "meaning through the skin," is a type of fixation used when your wrist requires only one or two pins to become properly positioned and stabilized for healing. Percutaneous fixation involves the placement of pins under general anesthetic in the operating room. The wrist is then placed in a cast. Once healing is complete, the pins are removed. This method is especially successful when the fracture is to one of the small bones in the wrist.

  • External Fixation

This type of surgery involves the placement of an external frame to hold percutaneously set pins in place to help with healing and stability.

What to Expect on the Road to Wrist Fracture Surgery Recovery

Fractures often take upwards of six weeks to heal, but your physician will be able to give you a better idea of the time frame she expects for your particular injury. After surgery, you will spend some time focusing on control of pain and swelling, as well as maintaining range of motion in your other joints.

Caring for Your Body After Your Wrist Fracture Surgery

After your surgery, your doctor will refer you to a physical therapist who will instruct you in the next steps of your care. One of the first concepts you'll learn about is the R.I.C.E. method of treatment. This acronym stands for:

  • Rest

Anyone who's experienced an illness or injury knows that the first recommendation doctors make is to rest your body. This is especially true for the injured parts of your body. Following wrist fracture surgery, you will likely have some sort of wrist support, be it a plaster cast, a brace, or a splint. These should be used according to your doctor's instructions.

  • Ice

Icing your wrist will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice packs can generally be used for about ten minutes at a time, several times a day. Your doctor will be able to give you specific instructions.

  • Compression

Compression dressings, such as bands or gloves, can help reduce swelling, and should be used when elevating your wrist. Make sure to follow your doctor's instructions carefully, so as not to cut off the circulation to your fingers by making the dressing too tight.

  • Elevation

Keeping your wrist above your heart is also critical to recovery and controlling swelling when recovering from wrist fracture surgery. You can often do this by propping your arm on pillows when seated or lying down. If you do a lot of standing in your daily life, your doctor may recommend you use a sling to keep your arm elevated during the day. Make sure that your arm is never dangling at your side. This can lead to significant swelling and retention of fluids.

In addition to the R.I.C.E. method, it will be important to maintain the range of motion in your elbow and shoulder. Your doctor or physical therapist can give you recommendations for keeping your joints and muscles as healthy as possible during your recovery.

Recovery from wrist fracture surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to four months, depending on the severity of the injury, and the type of procedure performed. For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

If you or a loved one is anticipating surgery to repair a wrist fracture, you'll want to follow these important steps after you leave the operating room

Wrist fractures can happen in an instant, but recovery takes time. Whether you broke your wrist from falling, playing a sport, or in an accident, prompt, appropriate treatment for your injury is crucial to regaining and maintaining strength and range of motion. While there are numerous treatment options for wrist fractures, some injuries may require surgical repair due to their location or severity.

If you or a loved one is anticipating wrist fracture surgery, you may be wondering what to expect, both during and after the procedure. At Rothman Institute we are dedicated to helping patients like you understand their treatment needs at every step of recovery. If you're looking for information about what to expect during and after your procedure, read on.

Surgical Treatments for Your Wrist Fracture

While some wrist fractures can be treated without surgery, if your doctor has recommended forearm fracture surgery, it's important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Surgeons generally agree that there is a two week window after an injury where wrist fracture surgery can be performed without being complicated by the early stages of bone healing. During this time period, you and your doctor will need to decided whether to go ahead with your wrist fracture surgery or not.

If you decide to proceed, your doctor will advise you about which type of wrist fracture surgery would be best for your particular health needs. Fracture surgery, medically referred to as "fixation" because it "fixes" your bones into their correct places for proper healing, comes in a few types.

  • Internal Fixation

A small incision is made, a stabilizing plate and pins or screws are fixed to the bone, and the incision is closed. Assuming there are no complications, this hardware does not need to be removed, however, you and your doctor can opt for a second surgery to take it back out after the bone has completely healed.

  • Percutaneous Fixation

Percutaneous, "meaning through the skin," is a type of fixation used when your wrist requires only one or two pins to become properly positioned and stabilized for healing. Percutaneous fixation involves the placement of pins under general anesthetic in the operating room. The wrist is then placed in a cast. Once healing is complete, the pins are removed. This method is especially successful when the fracture is to one of the small bones in the wrist.

  • External Fixation

This type of surgery involves the placement of an external frame to hold percutaneously set pins in place to help with healing and stability.

What to Expect on the Road to Wrist Fracture Surgery Recovery

Fractures often take upwards of six weeks to heal, but your physician will be able to give you a better idea of the time frame she expects for your particular injury. After surgery, you will spend some time focusing on control of pain and swelling, as well as maintaining range of motion in your other joints.

Caring for Your Body After Your Wrist Fracture Surgery

After your surgery, your doctor will refer you to a physical therapist who will instruct you in the next steps of your care. One of the first concepts you'll learn about is the R.I.C.E. method of treatment. This acronym stands for:

  • Rest

Anyone who's experienced an illness or injury knows that the first recommendation doctors make is to rest your body. This is especially true for the injured parts of your body. Following wrist fracture surgery, you will likely have some sort of wrist support, be it a plaster cast, a brace, or a splint. These should be used according to your doctor's instructions.

  • Ice

Icing your wrist will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice packs can generally be used for about ten minutes at a time, several times a day. Your doctor will be able to give you specific instructions.

  • Compression

Compression dressings, such as bands or gloves, can help reduce swelling, and should be used when elevating your wrist. Make sure to follow your doctor's instructions carefully, so as not to cut off the circulation to your fingers by making the dressing too tight.

  • Elevation

Keeping your wrist above your heart is also critical to recovery and controlling swelling when recovering from wrist fracture surgery. You can often do this by propping your arm on pillows when seated or lying down. If you do a lot of standing in your daily life, your doctor may recommend you use a sling to keep your arm elevated during the day. Make sure that your arm is never dangling at your side. This can lead to significant swelling and retention of fluids.

In addition to the R.I.C.E. method, it will be important to maintain the range of motion in your elbow and shoulder. Your doctor or physical therapist can give you recommendations for keeping your joints and muscles as healthy as possible during your recovery.

Recovery from wrist fracture surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to four months, depending on the severity of the injury, and the type of procedure performed. If you would like more information about wrist fracture surgery, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 1-800-321-9999.

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