What Is Wrist Arthroscopy?

Hand and wrist injuries make up around 3% – 9% of total sports injuries, and depending on the sport, the incidence rate can increase to 25%

This can occur from traumatic impacts with opponents, equipment, or landing improperly and increased training and gameplay intensity. 

When the wrist or hand sustains damage to the bones or connective tissues, a minimally invasive surgery known as arthroscopy may be employed to diagnose and address the injury.  

Before the procedure takes place, a few steps have to be taken. 

  • The physician should be informed of any medication the patient is taking, including supplements and other substances purchased without a prescription
  • Some patients may be asked to stop taking blood thinners in the period leading up to the surgery.
  • If a patient indulges in more than one or two drinks per day, he should notify the doctor. 
  • Smoking can reduce healing and should be avoided.
  • If a patient has experienced any adverse symptoms or illness, he should mention this to his healthcare provider as it may postpone the intervention

How the Operation Takes Place

The surgical procedure begins with administering a local anesthetic to the area that will be operated on. The patient will be awake during the operation and will not feel pain. An additional sedative may be administered to keep the patient relaxed.

The surgeon will make two minor incisions about half an inch on the back of the wrist, depending on what area needs to be visualized. The surgeon will introduce an arthroscope through one of the incisions, a thin tube with a camera and light source that will relay the injured area on a screen. The second incision will allow access to special surgical instruments to carry out the intervention.   

The surgeon will diagnose and address any damages that require repairs throughout the procedure. Fluid may be infused into the affected area to offer more space and better visualization of the injury

Following the procedure, the incisions are closed using stitches, and a dressing is applied. The patient can go home on the same day, although it's recommended to have a designated driver. In some cases, a splint may be required for a short period. 

Arthroscopic surgery doesn't require extensive cuts to the operated area and involves less pain and stiffness during recovery with fewer complications than open hand surgery. Recovery is faster at an estimated 4 – 6 weeks; however, it can take longer depending on the injury and its severity.