Wrist arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat problems inside your wrist joint.
It is performed if you have a wrist injury, such as a fall or a twisting of your wrist, that is causing you pain, swelling or clicking, as these symptoms may indicate you have an internal wrist problem.
What is an arthroscopy of the wrist?
Wrist arthroscopy is keyhole surgery that involves inserting a small, thin telescope, called an arthroscope, through a small incision in your wrist. It allows your wrist surgeon to see inside the two main joints of your wrist and to diagnose and treat wrist injuries and problems.
Wrist arthroscopy can diagnose and treat a number of wrist problems including:
- Chronic wrist pain – such as cartilage damage can be smoothed and loose bits removed.
- Wrist fractures – fractures of the wrist can be realigned and stabilised. Fragments of bone in your joint following a fracture may be removed. A distal radius fracture is a common wrist fracture that happens when you fall onto an outstretched arm.
- Ganglion cysts - treatment can remove ganglions of the wrist and a stalk that often grows between your two wrist bones where ganglion cysts develop.
- Sprained wrist - ligament tears can be repaired.
- Infection of the wrist joint – can be washed out.
- Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis – excess joint lining can be removed.
What are the benefits of an arthroscopy of the wrist?
Arthroscopy of the wrist has a number of benefits including:
- Many wrist injuries can be diagnosed and treated at the same time so only one rather than two procedures are required.
- A small cut is made for the arthroscope and miniature instruments rather than a large incision.
- Complications are less likely using arthroscopy than open surgery.
- Patients feel less pain and joint stiffness.
- Reduced recovery time.
What does the wrist arthroscopy operation involve?
Arthroscopy of the wrist involves inserting a very small camera, called an arthroscope, into your wrist.
The arthroscope sends images of your wrist to a video monitor for your doctor to see. It allows your doctor to investigate, diagnose and treat your wrist injury or condition.
Once your wrist problem has been diagnosed your wrist surgeon may perform treatment at the same time by inserting miniature surgical instruments into your wrist to repair or remove any damaged tissue.
You will usually have a general anaesthetic before wrist arthroscopy. It’s a simple day case procedure that takes between thirty minutes to an hour.
What complications can happen after an arthroscopy of the wrist surgery?Complications after arthroscopy of the wrist surgery are unusual. Rare risks include:
- Nerve injuries
- Tendon tearing
- Excessive swelling or bleeding
- Stiffness or loss of joint motion (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
- Compartment syndrome.
How much does a wrist arthroscopy cost?
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
The arthroscopy of the wrist may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
How soon will I recover after an arthroscopy of the wrist?
Arthroscopy of the wrist is usually a day case procedure so you should be able to go home the same day.
Your hand, fingers and wrist area will be bruised, swollen and may be painful immediately and for up to three weeks after the surgery.
You may be advised to do exercises to aid your recovery.
Most people can resume normal activities after a couple of weeks and, over time the pain subsides and movement improves.
Arthroscopy of the wrist with Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care we provide our patients with easy access to experts in orthopaedics. We work in partnership with many consultant surgeons who have a special interest in wrist injuries. Our hospitals also invest in the latest technology to ensure you receive the very best care.
Contact us now to book your appointment.