Wrist Arthroscopy in Dallas & Frisco, TX

Treatment for Wrist Fractures, Ganglion Cysts, and TFCC Tears

wrist arthroscopy

Wrist arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows orthopedic specialists to diagnose and treat disorders of the wrist joint. The procedure involves the use of a tiny fiber optic medical instrument called an arthroscope. An arthroscopy allows surgeons to look inside small areas of the joint without the need for large incisions in the tissue and muscle. The delicate and cramped nature of the bones in the wrist call for just as delicate a surgical procedure. It also calls for a highly skilled Dallas orthopedic surgeon.

At SPORT Orthopedics and Physical Therapy, we diagnose and treat all manner of sports injuries and orthopedic conditions. Some examples include carpal tunnel, wrist fractures, ganglion cysts, and sprained wrists. If you feel pain or discomfort in your wrist, it might be time to undergo wrist arthroscopy. Call our orthopedic doctors and Dallas physical therapists today at 469-200-2832. You can also fill out our online intake form.

What Is Wrist Arthroscopy?

This procedure involves the use of a tiny camera, or arthroscope, to view the inside of the wrist joint. The purpose of arthroscopy is either to diagnose an issue or to treat it with a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Any tools used during the procedure are also small enough to fit in the small incision for the arthroscope. A less invasive procedure means less pain and a shorter recovery time. Therefore, arthroscopy is a popular choice for both patients and surgeons alike.

Anatomy of the Wrist

Among the most complex joints in the entire body is the wrist joint. This is because the wrist is more like multiple joints all working together to move your hand. It isn’t as simple as two bones coming together to form one joint. The structures involved in the wrist are the proximal carpals, distal carpals, metacarpals, and the radiocarpal joint. Below, we list a few key functions of the wrist joint.

  • Moving one’s hand side to side and back and forth
  • Transferring forces from the hand to the arm and vice versa
  • Giving more strength and flexibility to the entire hand

These essential abilities of the wrist are crucial to our everyday lives. They also depend on a highly complex combination of bones, tissues, and joints working together.

wrist arthroscopy

What Is the Wrist Arthroscopy Procedure Like?

Before the procedure, you will most likely be given general anesthesia. This implies that you will be unconscious and unable to sense pain. Alternatively, you may be given localized anesthetic. Your forearm and wrist will be anesthetized so you won’t feel any discomfort. Your doctor will give you medication to make you very tired throughout the procedure if you get regional anesthetic. During the procedure, the surgeon performs the following actions.

  • They make a very small incision, then insert the arthroscope into that incision. The scope remains connected to a video feed monitor within the operating room. That feed lets the surgeon view what they’re doing inside the wrist.
  • The surgeon then views all of the tissues inside the wrist, including the ligaments, cartilage, bones, and tendons.
  • Lastly, they perform any necessary repairs of damaged tissue. For this, a few more very small incisions are necessary to insert the surgical tools. A repair example might be fixing torn cartilage. At the end, the surgeon removes any damaged tissue.

The openings will be stitched up and covered with a bandage at the conclusion of the procedure. During the surgery, most doctors take images from the video display to demonstrate to patients what they found and what corrections they did.

If the wrist sustains a lot of damage, the surgeon might recommend an open surgery. Open surgeries, while requiring a larger incision and longer recovery time, allow surgeons to access the bones and tissues more easily.

When Is Wrist Arthroscopy Necessary?

Patients are frequently advised to have arthroscopic surgery after other, more moderate treatment approaches have failed to provide relief. If a patient fell on or twisted their wrist, has a wrist fracture, or is suffering wrist discomfort, swelling, or clicking sensations, this procedure is frequently used.

This operation can also be used to correct wrist fractures, clear ganglion cysts, or treat infections at the origin. Arthroscopic wrist surgery can be done to remove extra joint lining in rheumatoid arthritis patients. This serves to reduce inflammation.

Diagnostic Wrist Arthroscopy

If the cause of wrist discomfort is unclear, diagnostic arthroscopy may be employed. It may also be utilized if wrist discomfort persists after nonsurgical therapy for several months. Before the arthroscopic procedure, doctors usually do the following.

  • Physically examine the hand and wrist
  • Take a medical history from the patient
  • Perform provocative tests to locate the source of the pain
  • Take pictures of the wrist and hand, usually involving x-rays, MRI scans, or arthrograms

In most cases, arthroscopic surgery simply necessitates the use of regional anesthetic to numb the hand and arm. To help the patient calm even further, a sedative may be administered.

On the outside of the wrist, two or more tiny incisions, called portals, are created. Through the portals, the arthroscope and equipment are placed, and the joint is seen through the lens on the tip of the arthroscope. The openings are sealed with a little stitch after surgery, and a bandage is placed. A brace is often used.

Wrist Arthroscopy for Surgical Treatment

Various conditions and injuries of the wrist are treatable via wrist arthroscopy.

  • Chronic wrist pains: When diagnostic testing fails to produce a clear diagnosis, arthroscopic investigative surgery may be utilized to determine the reason for persistent wrist discomfort. After a wrist injury, there may be regions of inflammation, cartilage damage, or other abnormalities. In certain circumstances, the problem can be addressed arthroscopically after the diagnosis has been determined.
  • Wrist fracture: After a bone breaks, little particles of bone may remain within the joint. Using pins, wires, or screws, wrist arthroscopy can extract these fragments, align the shattered bone components, and secure them.
  • Ganglion cysts: Ganglion cysts develop from a stalk that runs between two wrist bones. The stalk can be removed through an arthroscopic operation, which may lessen the chances of these cysts returning. 
  • Carpal tunnel release: Numbness or tingling in the hand, as well as discomfort up the arm, are symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Tension on a nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel causes it. Many factors can cause pressure to build up inside the tunnel, including inflammation and swelling of the membranes that surround the tendons. If nonsurgical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome fails, carpal tunnel release is an alternative. The surgeon would expand the tunnel by cutting the ligament ceiling. This might improve symptoms by relieving pressure on the nerve. An arthroscope may be used in various cases.
  • TFCC tears or ligament tears: Ligaments are soft tissue strands that join or pivot bones. They give the joints structure and security. Inside the wrist, the TFCC is a buffering structure. When you fall on your extended hand, ligaments, the TFCC, or both might be torn. The outcome is movement-induced discomfort or a clicking feeling. The TFCC tears can be repaired through arthroscopic surgery.

What to Expect After Wrist Arthroscopy

The wrist should be raised for the first 2 or 3 days following surgery, and the dressing should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Ice may assist in reducing edema. There are workouts that might help you keep your mobility and regain strength. Analgesic drugs will ease any pain, even if it is modest following surgery.

Over several days, you will be exhausted. The inside of your wrist will swell. Also, your skin may appear to have a different hue near the wounds. This is very normal and will subside after a few days. In the first few days following surgery, keep your arm elevated above your heart to reduce swelling and discomfort.

The type of surgery you have will determine when you may return to work or resume your normal routine. You’ll most likely require 6 weeks to heal. Recovery will take even longer if you have tissue repaired. It’s possible that you’ll have to limit your activities until your wrist strength and mobility return to normal. You might potentially be enrolled in a rehab program.

What Are Potential Complications of Wrist Arthroscopy?

Whether during wrist arthroscopy or after, complications are uncommon. Infections, nerve damage, severe edema, bleeding, scarring, and tendon tears are all possibilities. Before your operation, your doctor will go over the risks of arthroscopy with you.

Contact SPORT Orthopedics and Physical Therapy Today

If you or someone you know suffers from pain or an injury to the wrist joint, contact SPORT Orthopedics and Physical Therapy right away. Our main goals are to get you back to your active lifestyle with as smooth a recovery as possible. The highly qualified orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists we pair with our patients have the knowledge and compassion to help. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 469-200-2832. You can also fill out our online intake form.