What Type of Therapy is Needed After Wrist Arthroscopy?


After experiencing tissue damage in the wrist, an arthroscopy might be recommended by your doctor. During this procedure, a small camera is inserted into the wrist, allowing for an in-depth view while performing corrective surgery. By using an arthroscopy, the doctor is able to identify problems and make the necessary repairs without making big cuts in the tissue and skin. This allows the patients to recover more quickly and also to experience less pain throughout the process.

A wrist arthroscopy can be performed to treat a variety of ailments. In addition to seeking out the cause of general wrist pain, the procedure can be used to remove ganglions (small, fluid-filled sacs), locate tears in the ligaments, relieve pain from carpal tunnel, and realign the bones after a fracture or dislocation. Before the surgery, you will receive either general or localized anesthesia. The surgeon will insert the arthroscope into the wrist via a small incision, watching on a video monitor. After inspects all of the bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, he/she will conduct the necessary repairs and remove any damaged tissue. The length of the procedure depends on the extent of the injury. At the end, the incisions will be shut with stitches and a protective dressing will be placed over the insertion point.

Once the procedure is complete, you will spend time in recovery before being sent home to rest. It’s important to follow any and all discharge instructions that you have been given from the surgical team. This will include after-care cleaning techniques as well as therapeutic options. The wrist should remain elevated for several days in order to reduce swelling; applying a cold pack will also help with this. Follow instructions on how to change the dressing, and be sure to keep the area clean and dry, especially while the stitches are setting. Some patients may need to wear a splint to demobilize the area while it heals, as well.

Physical therapy will always need to be completed after a wrist arthroscopy, but the length, intensity, and specific program will depend on the original injury. Once swelling has reduced- usually during the first week- you may start to use the demobilized wrist to complete some personal care routines, such as wiping the face or applying make-up. Tendon gliding exercises may begin when the patient no longer feels pain. In the second and third weeks, you may start to engage the wrist, rotating it and performing isometric movements, sometimes even with a bit of applied weight. Full mobility exercises that involve lifting and carrying should not be attempted until at least four weeks after surgery. While a bit of discomfort will be normal in any therapeutic recovery program, you should stop any exercise that is causing pain, as it will hinder the recovery process and can even lead to further damage and injury.

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