A scaphoid fracture is a type of wrist injury that occurs when the scaphoid bone, one of the small bones located in the wrist, breaks or cracks. This kind of injury is frequent in people who participate in sports or manual labor and is frequently brought on by a fall onto an outstretched hand. If the bone fragments are out of place or if the injury is severe, one of the treatment suggestions might be scaphoid fracture fixation.
Read on to learn more about what scaphoid fracture fixation is, including the diagnosis, the different techniques that can be used in the procedure, and the typical recovery time.
What Is Scaphoid Fracture Fixation?
Repairing a broken scaphoid bone in the wrist requires surgery called scaphoid fracture fixation. One of the small bones in the wrist, the scaphoid bone, plays a crucial role in the wrist joint by transferring forces from the hand to the forearm. It is one of the wrist’s small bones. When a scaphoid bone is broken, it can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty using the affected hand.
Conservative measures like wearing a cast or brace may be sufficient in some circumstances, but in more serious ones, surgery may be required to correct alignment issues and speed up healing. If left untreated, a scaphoid fracture can result in long-term problems such as wrist arthritis or chronic pain. For these reasons, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a wrist injury. A medical professional will seek to do a full examination to see exactly what type of fracture is causing you pain so that it can be properly treated, which may mean a need for surgery.
How Is the Fracture Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of a scaphoid fracture typically involves a physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once the fracture has been identified, a doctor might advise scaphoid fracture fixation if the bone fragments are misaligned or if the injury is severe because, in these circumstances, the fixation procedure can aid in the fracture’s proper healing.
Stabilizing the broken bone and fostering healthy healing are the two objectives of scaphoid fracture fixation. Several surgical techniques may be used, depending on the specific needs of the patient and the severity of the injury.
One common method of scaphoid fracture fixation is open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). During this procedure, a surgeon makes an incision in the wrist to access the broken bone. They then manipulate the bone fragments back into place and secure them with screws, pins, or wires. Usually, more severe scaphoid fractures that are not improving with conservative treatment are advised to use this technique.
Another method is called percutaneous fixation, which entails making tiny wrist incisions and securing the bone fragments with minimally invasive methods. This method is less invasive and results in less scarring and a faster recovery, but it may not be appropriate for all types of scaphoid fractures. Regardless of the surgical technique used, it is important that the scaphoid bone be stabilized to promote proper healing.
After a Scaphoid Fracture Fixation Procedure
To keep the wrist stable and safeguard the surgical site, a cast or splint will be put on after the procedure. Following scaphoid fracture fixation, physical therapy is frequently advised to help increase wrist strength and range of motion. Exercises and management methods can be given by a physical therapist to help with pain and swelling.
Recovery time after scaphoid fracture fixation varies depending on the severity of the injury and the chosen surgical technique. Most patients can expect to return to normal activities within several weeks to a few months, but it is important to follow all instructions from a doctor and physical therapist to ensure proper healing and prevent further injury.
Possible Complications of Scaphoid Fracture Fixation
In some cases, complications may arise after scaphoid fracture fixation. These may include infection, nerve damage, or non-union, which is when the bone does not heal properly. It is important to closely monitor the surgical site and to report any unusual symptoms to a doctor promptly. Seeing a physical therapist as well can help with the healing journey, but it can also help to get their opinion on any strangeness you might notice in the sensation or appearance of your wrist. In this way, they can help monitor your recovery and see to it that you get right back to normal that much quicker.
Is Scaphoid Fracture Fixation Worth It?
Surgery can be scary, and it is natural for some to be fearful of it. However, medical professionals are aware of the risks inherent in surgical procedures and would only suggest scaphoid fracture fixation if there were no other way to heal the fracture. No matter which technique the surgeon uses, it will be done with great care and attention, and with the right team, you will be in good hands the entire time. They will also help you with an aftercare program to keep an eye on your recovery time and any possible side effects you might have.
Mobility Bone & Joint Institute has specialists who can see your scaphoid fracture fixation done with confidence and ease. Located in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, their compassion and level of experience will have you right as rain in no time. For more information or to ask any questions you might have, contact one of their orthopedic specialists today!