Ulnar Head Replacement & Pan Carpal Fusion

Hello all,

I'm now two weeks into the aftermath of this op on my left wrist. I've been wearing a wrist brace more and more over the past few years with the pain getting worse and worse, so decided to bite the bullet and have the op.

I know some of you will have had the same or one or the other, so I'm just looking to hear your experiences.

Generally, I feel ok, amazingly the pain has been minimal - I think because my arm was totally numb for the first 24 hours and then I took the pain meds as directed. I only take paracetamol now.

I've had the stitches out and a nice cast put on but my problem is I don't see the consultant or anyone until mid June. My fingers are still a bit yellow and still swollen (I have very small thin hands normally) plus my middle and ring fingers refuse to move of their own accord - it's weird! I have no idea what I should be doing or more importantly, not doing.

I know we all can have slightly different experiences but if you've had this done, I'd appreciate your input.

Thanks x

4 Replies

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  • Hi Tissee, Yes, I had that same procedure done 2 months ago. Went through the same stages after surgery as you are at now. However, at just 2 weeks, you have more healing to do, so don't get discouraged!

    I was started on Occupational Therapy with an expert Physio after 1 week, as my fingers would not straighten out. There is an apparatus that fits on the top of the splint, that has like fishing poles extended, with a little sling at the end of each where the fingers fit in and then the line is tightened to raise the fingers up. Hurt like hell at first, but then it got better. Had to leave it on for an hour at a time, 5 times a day. After several days, I declared I could accomplish the same thing by just working my fingers up and straight with my left hand. The OT measured them as I saw him 3 times a week, and he assessed that I was able to accomplish the end result very well, so I gave up on the apparatus.

    At 8 weeks post op, I am now typing with all fingers, and have been for a couple weeks. Bending the wrist is a bit more challanging, though it's going better than it was a couple weeks ago, so that is ongoing progress!

    I can now eat with my right hand, but still a bit tentaive, as the wrist doesnot quite turn as much as it should, yet. Soup with a spoon? nono, not yet, too risky. So, I just pass on the soup for now. Still can use my left hand for stabbing things, so I am certainly not starving!

    Since you don't have a return visit until June, I suggest you call the surgeon's office and report the problem with your middle and ring fingers. Mine are still swollen on that hand and I still can't get my rings on, much to my distress, as I feel "unfinished" without my rings. Sort of the same if I forget to put my earrings on. But, you should be able to move the fingers, so I'd report that immediately. He may then order some OT. Hang in there, let us know how it goes. Loret

  • Hi Loret,

    thanks for replying. So you had it done to your right wrist? Tricky! I won't be able to bend my wrist though at all. Ever. You're right that it is still early days and I'm a little impatient! And if your fingers are still swollen 6 weeks ahead of me then I feel a bit better about it now. You've given me hope re typing.

    I'll take your advice and call the hospital tomorrow; the main problem there is getting to the right person. I'm interested to hear how it's going for you too, so I'll 'chat' again soon.

    Best regards, T

  • Did you have a fusion then? I chose not to, I wanted to be able to write with a pen and hold my paintbrushes again. He did say, if I had too much trouble, I could opt for the fusion later. Hope you get some answers to your fingers soon. Take care, Loret

  • Hi Loret,

    hope all is going well with you now. Sorry I didn't answer right away. I wouldn't have had a fusion had it been my right hand or I too would've had problems as my job is a creative one. At four weeks my fingers are still swollen but if it is as you say then it looks like I'm stuck with that for a while. It doesn't hurt all the time but that creates its own problems as whilst doing a bit of shopping today I 'forgot' and put a loaded basket on the crook of my arm, then when put it down the thing tipped up and I put my hand out to catch it. I had some pain afterwards and now worry that I've done something. I have tried to get some info from the hospital but to no avail and I don't see the consultant for another two weeks. It's been four weeks today since I had the op. After your op were you given instructions about what you should and shouldn't do? Or what kind of pain would be considered normal? Sometimes I have no pain and other times, well, ouch!

    Thanks for listening

    T

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