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Numbness and tingling after wrist fusion surgery

I’m nearly 2 weeks post op after having a wrist fusion and existing metal work in my hand moved about. The day after the first surgery I had no feeling or movement in my thumb, index or middle finger… so was then taken back down to theatre for carpel tunnel syndrome surgery. Was a definite improvement within a couple of hours… regained most feeling and movement, other than restrictions from swelling as expected. But now things seem to have gone backwards again… a couple of days after coming home from hospital I have gradually lost all feeling in my thumb again :( if I squeeze it it tingles/burns but that’s the only sensation I have. It’s freezing cold all the time, thumb nail turns blue a lot of the time and I’m now starting to get shooting pains and tingling in the palm of my hand.

I’ve been distracted by the excruciating pain in my hip since the original operation, as I had a bone graft from left hip bone to put into my wrist to fuse it, but now that’s easing slightly I’m starting to struggle with all this pain and numbness that has come on in my thumb and palm.

Is this fairly common and to be expected? Will it improve in time or should I contact my surgeon/doctor?

Thanks,

Sarah.

16 Replies
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Sarah definately one for the medics . I'd even call 111. You can't mess around with numbness etc. Do you have a walk in doctors near you ?

Good luck. Keep in touch .

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Hi Allanah,

Thanks for your reply. I don’t think we have a walk in around here… only a&e. Do you think It’d be a good idea to make sure I keep it elevated tonight and then see if there’s any improvement in the morning? I have just been expecting it to get better as the days have gone on… but if anything, it’s got worse 😕.

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Of course elevate , keep cool and take your painkillers. But if it worsens at all best to get checked x x you can always just phone d for advice on 111.they are usually helpful. Good luck x

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Great, thank you x

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BUT medics know best 😀

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I'd agree with A, this is something that should be checked over by a medical professional. It's not unknown for numbness after wrist surgery but Carpal Tunnel Release should be effective pretty quickly post op, it's an odd one with having had both performed on the same wrist. With pre op CTR I found dangling my hand down the side of the arm of the chair eased the numbness, tingling & arm pain but I had near immediate relief post op, which is when you need to keep it elevated. You could try to wiggle your fingers, gently though, see if that helps a little but if it's no better tomorrow I'd have it checked over. Keep your pain relief topped up as directed.

Hope you can get comfy enough tonight Sarah. Let us know how you get on.

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Thank you nomoreheels 😃.

I have had 7 operations on my left hand now in the last 6 years. It was totally shattered in a car accident, so has been almost completely rebuilt bit by bit since. The wrist fusion surgery was because all the fractures and metal work in it had started to cause the arthritis to set in my wrist joints. I’ve had CTR done twice before on my previous ops and never had any problems with lasting numbness etc. I wonder if keep reopening the same scar is causing the build up of scar tissue and swelling to put pressure on nerves and arteries. I had bad CTS in my good hand when heavily pregnant and always found shaking it downwards relieved the pain but if I do that now with my bad one that is casted up it just throbs like mad and is incredibly painful.

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No, keep it elevated! I meant it eased my symptoms pre op, it needs to be elevated now, were you not provided with a sling? In bed I found a pillow placed on my chest helped to keep my wrist above my heart, as in the after care leaflet I was given when discharged. I had almost immediate relief, it was a uncomfortable enough to need my co-codamol once the anaesthetic had worn off but the numbness & elbow/shoulder pain had gone. But you've had a lot more other work on yours so best to have it checked over if it's still the same tomorrow.

You've had a lot of ops so you could be right about scar tissue, makes sense to me anyhow.

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Definitely contact your doctor immediately about your thumb.

But to reassure you I had a bone graft taken from my hip & it was sore for a. very long time but it did calm down eventually & I have had no lasting after effects.

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Thank you, I’m glad to hear it does get easier. It’s really taken me by surprise how much it has hurt, couldn’t even walk at all for the first 4 - 5 days 😫 but now each day it is getting a little bit better.

My thumb and palm is no better today though, so I will get in touch with my plastic surgeon and ask him his advice.

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Hi can you go see occupational health and get them to make you a wrist splint to be Wien in bed. I have carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in my right wrist hand and it is the only thing that helps me. I was stubborn at first not to wear it as it looks ridiculous but by god has it helped me through this horrendous flare from my RA this week and biofreeze also which I roll on all over my hand and wrist that's amazing stuff too. Are you on naproxen too I am on that twice a day for inflammation. Best wishes and hope you get some relief soon have u got whirlpool bath to get circulation going the pain may be something to do with touching nerve etc. Regards Janet x

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Hi Janet, the trouble is the problem hand is totally in plaster because I just had a wrist fusion operation on it. They had to do emergency carpel tunnel release surgery on it the following day because the swelling was cutting off the feeling to my thumb, index and middle finger. It improved in the immediate 48 hrs after being done but has now come back 😕.

I know what you mean about the splint though, I have one for my right hand after suffering from CTS during pregnancy and wearing it at night really helped. But because my left hand is in a large plaster I can’t do anything with it 😒 apart from elevating it, which doesn’t seem to be making any difference. Think maybe it’s time to get in touch with my surgeon and see what he thinks x

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Oh I feel so sorry fir you that sounds awful please get in touch with them asap they need to make you comfortable take good care and hope ur pain free asap you poor love. Regards Janet x

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Hi all. Just a quick update… contacted the hospital this afternoon and was called in there and then for an immediate assessment. Saw one of the surgical registrars who is concerned about the numbness and pain but not sure whether to suggest anymore surgery as yet as it has been through a lot of trauma the last week. So they put a new extra big cast on to stop any sort of finger or thumb movement at all and I’ve got to go back tomorrow to see my actual plastic surgeon to see what he thinks. Fingers crossed I’m not going to have to go under the knife again 🤞 but we’ll see what tomorrow’s news brings x

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It pains me just thinking of what you've they with those surgeries. Ive had CTS on both mine but it wasnt complicated with a fusion. However now that's my only option for my rt wrist according to the surgeon 😷. It will have to be done with metal plates on top and bottom. I don't think I could endure having a surgery on my hip too! For 3 yrs, my wrist has been constantly in pain and I have to wear a support all the time.

Recently I learned my pain mgmt doc has started doing Stem Cell infusions & I have appt to discuss the possibility of using stem cells for my wrist & lower back instead of surgery.

But about your question: definitely agree with others here that you need to seek professional advice before risking losing all feeling in the fingers. You've gone they too much already to have this surgery cause more damage than its designed to help.

Much luck to you and wishes for a full & speedy recovery". Hugs!!!

Gail

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Hi, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am 45 and had so many surgeries. I had a total left wrist replacement done 14 years ago and due to it coming apart I am to have a fusion done this Monday Aug 06 2018. I am scared beyond words after reading all these stories. I have had 9 surgeries in the past 2 years so am used to it but this one is worrying me. 1 of 2 things will happen. 1, surgeon can get the metal ware out and there is so much bone loss he is taking a significant amount of bone from my hip and 2, if they cannot remove the metal ware, he will cut away the bone holding it in, let that heal then go back in a few months for fusion. I have already had carpal tunnel release on this hand, also an ulna head replacement and trigger finger release on 4 fingers and synovectomies in several fingers. The left elbow needs to be replaced also. Anyway, from what I am reading, this is pretty horrific pain. Especially the hip graft. I have issues with my back/hips and have had 6 surgeries on my feet with one ankle fully fused and the other partially fused and forefoot fused. It is already hard to walk. I am quite scared of this one

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