Wrist replacement or wrist fusion: I have had RA since... - NRAS


29,573 members35,347 posts

Wrist replacement or wrist fusion


I have had RA since I was 11. I had two hip replacements ten years back which worked brilliantly.

I am now looking into wrist replacement as my right wrist has almost no motion and am unable to carry a shopping bag, wash up, blow dry without causing serious pain. Even swimming and riding a bike really hurts.

I saw a surgeon who explained to me that wrist replacements were nothing like hip replacements which are more or less like giant lego, and who swore black and blue that fusion was the only viable option and wrist replacements are a mess. From what I have read though the technology is getting better. So I guess my issue is which procedure to get done and how long to wait if better wrist replacements do come along.

I have four questions.

1. Has anyone had a wrist replacement or a wrist fusion?

2. If so what has your experience been like?

3. Does waiting too long create problems?

4. Could you type after? I work part-time and it requires me to use the keyboard and mouse a lot?

11 Replies

Hi, I have had a wrist fusion last february. Though you can't bow your wrist anymore I am not in pain anymore, the limitations are minor. They need also bone from your iliac crest. That gives pain for about 6 weeks. A friend of mine had the same procedure. He had a wrist replacement before that two years earlier. It was no succes. But we are al different!

Wish you all the best!


Thank you for sharing that.

Hi, my daily activities are not really affected. Things are dropping more easily out of your hands. But I had also knuckle replacements and trouble with the tendons. The advantage of dropping things is that you can buy new stuff, haha. But no pain anymore, and thats what really counts!



I am Dutch so I hope my English is dood enough!

Hi, I have had both my wrist fused and have found them to be brilliant and painless. I had the right one done some 30+ years ago and a joint replacement to the left one about the same time. After about 18 months I went back to see surgeon who told me that because of the new technology associated with the wrist replacement, it was beginning to split. He said that it would be better to have the left fused the same as the right, which I agreed to. I can honestly say that they are now brilliant and painless. It does take a while to get used to not being able to flex the wrist particularly when doing certain tasks but you do overcome this problem with practice. I have had RA for 40+ years and was not able to lift even the smallest of items so to have the relief was fantastic. I dear say technology has moved on since then so I would ask all the questions that are necessary to make the situation clear to you. I wish you the very best. Brian

That is very heartening! Thank you. Given you are an active participant on this site I guess it doesn't affect typing. I am trying to change careers - move into data science - so typing is the big issue. I figure it will be flexible and work from homeable as I lose more mobility. Would you say that there is no problem if you were to type for a long time ie any referred pain to other joints like elbows and such?

Apologies for the delay. I am not a typist but I regularly do all other manual chores and do not suffer too much pain. I have however, had my right elbow replaced more recently but that is also painless now and was due to a nasty bursitis caused by the RA. I would definitely go for fusion as there are then no moving parts to cause problems. As with any general operation there is a 6 week recuperation period which you need for the wound to heal properly but it is really worth it to be pain free. I am sure you will benefit from this procedure. Very best wishes.

Hi ihad my wrist fused about 15 years ago i was in agony before it was done so it was a relief.No problem typing but my hands are sore but that is due to other problems.Not sure how long i was in a cast for maybe 6 weeks.But after the pain of operation which you would get with any operation it is worth it so i would say go for it.


I had a wrist

I had right wrist fused in Nov 2009 with fantastic results and can still type.

I had part wrist fusion 30 years ago and it was amazing like a new hand no more pain. However the last 5 years it has become very painful again, so now considering wrist replacement my consultant highly recommends it and has done approx 20 . Still apprehensive though but don’t think I have a choice I’m 73 and still very active .

Bigstevie67 in reply to reet73

Hi, where are you based and what's your consultant name as I'm needing to get the replacement done too as I'm in agony daily. Had a part fusion done 9 months ago and in worse pain now than before OP was done

You may also like...