Scaphoid fracture surgery: what you need to know

The scaphoid is a small bone in the wrist. It's often broken when people use their hands to brace themselves when falling. If non-surgical methods don't work, scaphoid fracture surgery is the next step. Learn about the treatment and recovery.

Stretching your hands out to protect yourself is instinctive. But when your hands take the brunt of a fall, they can be injured. If you have been feeling pain after breaking a fall with your hands, you may have a scaphoid fracture.

In this post we’ll let you know what a scaphoid fracture is, and what options you have for healing.

·      What is a scaphoid fracture?

·      Are there non-surgical treatments for scaphoid fracture?

·      What is scaphoid fracture surgery?

·      How do you recover from scaphoid fracture surgery?

·      How can Michigan Surgery Specialists help?

What is a scaphoid fracture?

What is the scaphoid?

The scaphoid is a small bone in your wrist, just above the thumb. It’s one of eight small bones called the “carpal bones” of the wrist. The scaphoid is closer to your wrist than other carpal bones, making it more susceptible to injury.

How do scaphoid fractures happen?

One of the most common ways that people break their scaphoid bones is by breaking a fall with their hands. When you land on an outstretched hand, it forces your hand backwards, causing the fracture.

What are the symptoms of a scaphoid fracture?

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling at the base of your thumb
  • Difficult and/or painful movement of the thumb and wrist

If your pain doesn’t subside after a day, you should see a doctor. Many patients think they simply have wrist pain and try to tough it out. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more likely it is that you’ll end up suffering from complications of the fracture.

Are there non-surgical treatments for scaphoid fracture?

Yes. If you receive proper treatment and restrict activity with your hand, a scaphoid fracture may heal without surgery.

Your doctor will likely recommend casting if it appears that the bones may heal on their own. The cast immobilizes your wrist, so the pieces of bone to fuse back together.

Depending on the break is, non-surgical treatment may not work.

What is scaphoid fracture surgery?

Surgery is usually the best option when the ends of your scaphoid bone are displaced. That’s a problem for a couple of reasons:

  • If left apart, the pieces of your scaphoid might not join back together at all
  • If the pieces heal improperly, you’ll have more pain and complications down the road

If surgery is required, there are a few ways that a surgeon might repair your scaphoid. In many cases, procedures can be completed using guided instruments without an open incision.

Moving the bones back into place

In what we call a “reduction,” the surgeon will move the ends of your scaphoid bone back into place so that they can heal properly.

Fixing the bones together

In some cases, a surgeon might fix the two pieces of your scaphoid together with a screw or metal wire until they’re healed.

Grafting new bone

A surgeon may decide it’s best to use a bone graft. Bone from another part of your body is fixed with the pieces of your scaphoid. This may result in quicker and better healing.

A hand surgeon will help you understand the best procedure for your condition.

How do you recover from scaphoid fracture surgery?

Recovery time varies depending on the type of procedure you’ve had, as well as how long it takes your body to heal. Scaphoid fractures tend to take longer to heal than other breaks.

You may have to wear a cast or splint for up to 6 months. You will visit with your doctor throughout the recovery process, and the doctor may change recommendations based on how you’re healing.

Your doctor will likely recommend occupational therapy at some point during the recovery process. Therapy will help you improve range of motion in your wrist so that you can get back to your everyday activities.

If you choose Michigan Surgery Specialists for your scaphoid surgery, you’ll be referred to a Certified Hand Therapist at Motus Rehabilitation. CHTs have at least three years of experience in treating hands, and at least  4,000 hours of hand therapy practice.

How can Michigan Surgery Specialists help?

At Michigan Surgery Specialists, you’ll find some of the most experienced and highly-skilled hand surgeons in Metro Detroit. Our doctors can help diagnose a scaphoid fracture or other hand and wrist conditions that are causing you pain. Surgeons at MSS have performed countless scaphoid fracture surgeries.

In addition to surgical treatment, MSS partners with Motus Rehabilitation to help you recover. Every Motus Rehabilitation clinic is staffed by a Certified Hand Therapist. Therapy will reduce your pain and increase your recover time. That way you can get back to the activities that you love.

Request an appointment at Michigan Surgery Specialists today!

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