Artificial Joint Replacement of the Wrist Espanola NM
Medical School: Univ Of Wa Sch Of Med, Seattle Wa 98195
Graduation Year: 1970
Los Alamos, NM
New Mexico Orthopaedic Associates
Graduation Year: 2007
Santa Fe, NM
Accepting New Patients: Yes
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Medical School: Northwestern
Graduation Year: 1957
Artificial Joint Replacement of the Wrist
A Patient's Guide to Artificial Joint Replacement of the Wrist
The wrist joint is replaced with an artificial joint (also called a prosthesis) much less often than other joints in the body, such as the knee or the hip. Still, when necessary, this operation can effectively relieve the pain caused by wrist arthritis. When severe arthritis has destroyed the wrist joint, artificial wrist replacement surgery (also called wrist arthroplasty) can help restore wrist strength and motion for many patients.
This guide will help you understand
What parts of the wrist are involved?
The anatomy of the wrist joint is extremely complex, probably the most complex of all the joints in the body. The wrist joint is actually made up of many joints and many bones. These joints and bones let us use our hands in many ways. The wrist must be extremely mobile to give our hands a full range of motion. At the same time, the wrist must provide the strength for heavy gripping.
The wrist is made up of eight separate small bones, called the carpal bones. The carpal bones connect the two bones of the forearm, the radius and the ulna, to the bones of the hand. The metacarpal bones are the long bones that lie mostly underneath the palm. The metacarpals are in turn attached to the phalanges (the bones in the fingers and thumb).
One reason that the wrist is so complex is that every small bone forms a joint with the bone next to it. This means many small joints make up the wrist joint. Ligaments connect all the small bones to each other, and to the radius, ulna, and metacarpal bones.
Articular cartilage is the smooth, rubbery material that covers the bone surfaces in most joints. It protects the bone ends from friction when they rub together as the joint moves. Articular cartilage also acts sort of like a shock absorber. Damage to the articular cartilage eventually leads to degenerative arthritis.
Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Osteoarthritis of the Wrist Joint
Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Wrist Anatomy
What conditions lead to wrist joint replacement?
The main reason for replacing any arthritic joint with an artificial joint is to stop the bones from rubbing against each other. This rubbing causes pain. Replacing the painful arthritic joint with an artificial joint gives the joint a new surface, which lets it move smoothly without causing pain.
Many operations are used to treat problems in the wrist. A fusion surgery can get rid of pain and restore strength in badly degenerated wrist joints. Fusion surgeries make the wrist strong again, but they greatly reduce the wrist's range of motion. This makes fusion surgery a poor choice for some people.
Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Wrist Fusion
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