I have seen many postings regarding the ulnar shortening surgery. My question is were you all in a lot of pain prior to the surgery. I have had pain every day for a little over a month. I broke my arm maybe 25yrs ago and sprained it pretty bad 2.5yrs ago, received cortizone injection at that time. I have had 2 opinions and both say that I need to have the surgery. The pain that I have now is not bad all the time, I do not take medicine (when I take them they don't really work anyway). I have difficulty with supination, and certain movements also numbness in fingers. Is this surgery really worth it or would you wait? Please help Im nervous of the pain and recovery.
The following user gives a hug of support to mydeedee: MountainReader (04-29-2013)
I know you don't want to hear this, but the surgery decision really is an individual one. You need to weigh your pain and ROM issues with the potential benefits of the surgery for you.
I had ulnar sided pain (tfcc area) from a bowling injury for a year before I decided to have the surgery. My pain was with with specific movements and not horrible, but it was frequent because it was with movements I made doing everyday things. They couldn't find any obvious tears from my injury, but they did see the ulnar impaction. (I consulted a couple specialists before deciding on the surgery.) I was told that the impaction is probably perpetuating the inflammation in that area every time I moved my wrist. Since I didn't want to face life with the problem forever, I decided to try the surgery.
I lost some ROM with the surgery in 2012. I had some hypermobility though so even my loss is closer to some people's normal. Unfortunately, I ended up having to have the plate removed after 9 months later. Now, I'm close to normal with my ROM, just not able to move to the 'beyond normal' that I used to have.
I'd say the pain of the surgery is the same as having surgery to repair a broken bone. I iced the area constantly, kept it elevated high for the first several days, and took pain killers regularly for the first several days to keep the pain from getting bad. I found a wrist pack online that I could wrap around my cast which made things easier. Good news though was once the initial surgical pain and swelling went away, things were much better. I did need a painkiller the day I got my first fiberglass cast a couple weeks in, but it didn't last long. Honestly, this surgery was easier for me than one I'd had a couple years prior for another issue. It did hurt more than the plate removal and debriedment that I needed last fall.
I agree with MountainReader, surgery is the best option.
I've had trouble with my right wrist for years but no dr wud do anything. Luckily I had an X-ray and MRI scan and found out my ulnar bone was longer then my radius bone.
I was referred to Northern General Hospital Hand Centre in Sheffield where I met Orthropedic surgeon Dr Bostock. He looked at my wrist and recommended having some bone taken from my ulnar bone and a metal plate and screws put it, he also said about putting a camera in my wrist and get rid of some cartilage.
I received an appointment for the 22nd Feb 2012. Got to the hospital at 7am by 8.40 I was in the anesthetic room, I was given a nerve block to help with pain for after the op. I was given a general anesthetic and was in the recovery room by 11.40.
I woke up and found my arm and wrist bandaged up with plaster of Paris plaster from under my wrist round my arm to just near my elbow. I was in over night and was on a ward by 4. I had my arm in a foam sling while I was awake but when I laid down I put my arm on a pillow to keep it raised.
I had the bandages and plaster on for 2 weeks, then went back for a follow up X-ray and have my cast changed and stitches taken out, I then had a hard coloured cast for 5 weeks. After that I was on my own but was very careful it took me about 2 months to get it sort of back to how it was.
Unfortunately I've had the metal plate taken out as my wrist and fingers kept going numb and tingly so my consultant said the only thing to do is take it out. The scar has healed well but I've noticed the end of my scar near the bone on my wrist is numb so keeping and eye on that.
Hope this helps.
Asthma, Under Active Thyroid, Muscular skeletal disorder, Tmj, Migraines, osteoarthritis of the cervical spine.
The Following User Says Thank You to booboo31 For This Useful Post: mydeedee (05-01-2013)
Thank you MountainReader and Booboo31, I go back and forth with the decision on if I should have the surgery or not. Today was a bad day and I have made up my mind to go through with it. I took my youngest to the zoo and my wrist was in pain the entire time there and after. The only problem now is deciding on which doctor I want to have the lucky honors. I'm still nervous but thank you for your testimonies. I am going to put it off till July so I can celebrate my daughter graduating and my babies 5th bday without that kind of pain.
Think about what we've said here about the plate needing to be removed. I've had nothing but problems since I had the ulnar shortening in 10/2010. Now waiting to get approval for ulnar head removal. All the surgeries left lots of arthritis and lots of pain.
Hello and thank you so much for your reply. I actually had a consult with two hand surgeons 1 with the method of using the metal plate, and the others technique is just to shave the radial bone down. Cuts out the risk of 2nd surgery. I have it set for July 23. I have definitely been having more pain and also notice that my fingers are becoming slightly crooked, as well as numbness in three of them. I'm nervous about recovery and pain in the long run but honestly I can barely use my wrist/hand now. I'm praying for a speedy recovery and that I'm in that percent that said they would do the surgery all over again. I went back and read your other threadz and it sounds like you have had it pretty rough, so sorry about that, but it also opened my eyes to possibilities. Again thank you.
My mistake is that I went to a general Orthopedic surgeon not a hand surgeon when I was first hurt. If I had seen the specialist my care would have been very different. I hope my postings help others think about these procedures thoroughly. What ever anyone might learn from this is that they need a surgeon who specializes in hand surgery.
Hello you guys, I was wondering if you guys could help me with something. My ulnar shortening surgery is in a couple of weeks. I am african american and my big concern is what am I going to do with my hair. Was this a concern for you all or did you find it difficult to deal with after surgey. I could spend a lot of money and get it braided up but it will not last long due to the texture of my hair (it unravels easily). Or I could just straighten it and rely on my 17 year old to wrap it up at night for me. Any suggestions. Hopefully you guys can see this post before Domes Day
The following user gives a hug of support to mydeedee: MountainReader (07-07-2013)
In my case, I have shorter hair. I went to my hairdresser who did a bit shorter cut. He then dried and styled it only with his left hand only to make sure I'd be able to style it. He suggested squeezing the styling cream onto the countertop. I then rubbed my good hand over it and then onto my hair. I kept some wipes handy to clean the countertop mess, but it worked well for styling my hair.
I found I really only needed to worry about styling my hair the first 2 weeks. Once I had my fiberglass cast on, I was able to use that hand some.
I can't speak on your type of hair, but I think your best option will be whatever is easiest for you and makes you feel the best. How reliable is your 17 year old?
I found a product called a CastShield that I LOVED for bathing. It just rolled up over my wrist over my splint/cast to my upper arm. It stays in place by itself with no need to fasten anything. I used them for 6 weeks with not a drop of water getting through to my skin. Being able to bathe made me feel like a whole new person post-surgery. I bought some baby wipes to use for the first couple days. Those worked well enough, but nothing beats a nice shower.
I'm not sure if it is an issue for you, but I found a nice style front-hook bra that I lived in while my wrist issues were bad. (Forget hooking in the back, even hooking in the front and twisting to the back wasn't an option for me because of shoulder issues.) By being a bit creative, I was able to fasten it one-handed pretty easily. I just pushed in from the side a bit with my casted arm to hold that side a bit steady while the other hand did all the work.
Mountainreader you don't know how helpful that was. I just purchased the cast shield on amazon, hopefully I got the right size. Im about 5'2 and 150 and it said it was a medium does that sound about right. As far as my daughter she is responsible, we attempted a trial run of her doing my hair this morning and it did not go well so the braids would definitely be most easiest. It's just I don't want to have take my hair down later and it's $200. But it would last for 2-3 months and I could pay the stylist to take it down. I thought about wearing the bra tanks at home I never thought about a front clasp bra but will look for one. Thank you so much for all of your assistance. If you think of any other helpful tips let me know.
After surgery you will need to keep your arm elevated for the first few days. There will be lots of swelling for the first couple weeks. The elevation does help. I used lots of pillows to prop it up on. Also, ICE can be a good friend. Even through casts, it actually helps a lot. I have several kinds of ice bags and ice gel packs, but my favorite was to crush the ice to snow in my Ninja blender and put it in a plastic zipper bag. It molded nicely around the splint and casts. I even used the ice when I had the fiberglass cast put on at the 10 day mark.
Medium was what I used. I'm similar in build to you.
If you are somewhere hot and have a fiberglass cast put on (some of us did, others didn't), you might want to consider a Cast Cooler. It hooks to a vacuum hose and positions it so the air is drawn through the cast. It helps keep the skin dry and helps keep the itch down. You don't need a fancy product though. You can hold the vacuum hose to your cast yourself. It just takes a while. I thought that was one of the neatest tricks I learned when I had my casts on. My skin wasn't too bad when the cast came off. I had mine on in winter though so I guess in a way I was a bit luckier. (Other than the fact that my winter coats didn't fit over the casts well and I froze at times.)
I was driving the day my fiberglass cast went on. A bit awkward, but I adjusted quickly. Cooking was a bit of a pain. Cutting one-handed was tough. I ended up picking up take-out way too often. I'm sure your daughter will help, but it may not be a bad idea to prepare some things and have them in the freezer ready.
Have you had surgery before? Personally, I've found I have nausea issues with the anesthesia and pain meds. I made sure to get some anti-nausea meds to go with the pain meds. Without them, I'd have been a mess. Also, the pain meds can stop you up a bit. (Sorry if it is TMI.) I recommend asking your doctor about this. Mine prescribed Dulcolax which didn't work for me. I called my GI doc and he said Miralax. That got me right back on track.
As for the pain meds, I recommend taking them on schedule for the first several days. They help keep things from being too painful. It is a serious surgery and your body has a lot of 'trauma' to heal from. Give it a chance to heal. I was off of the pain meds before I got casted at the 10 day mark, but ended up needing a couple days on them again when the cast first went on. Not sure why, but the adjustment hurt a bit more than I expected. After that, I was fine.
To answer your question I have had surgery but nothing like this. Reading reviews I'm not going to say that I'm not a little frightened, I'm expecting pain. I will make sure I take medication for my GI. A co-worker of mine recommended frozen peas for my arm and just refreeze them, so I was going to attempt that. I'm in the Midwest STL so it will be hot here so I will check into a cast cooler. As for cooking that is already arranged my husband and daughter have that. I have already warned them that I want to eat real food, . It has been a year now since your surgery right? Do you regret it? My wrist and hand hurt all the time now so I am sure I need the surgery but reading your other post I saw that you still haven't gained full range of motion. I'm a nurse and I kinda need both of my hands to do that. I've been concerned about straining my good wrist because I use it all the time I am a good 1 handed typer all ready. I won't keep you I truly appreciate the advice.
I just saw your posting or I would have responded sooner.
I don't regret having the surgery. I was frustrated for a while because I did have pain in my TFCC area after the bone healed. My doc really should have cleaned it out in the beginning. I ended up seeking out a second surgeon who did the arthroscopic stuff as well. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my plate was removed during the second surgery.
I had my shortening done February 2012. I had the arthroscopic debridement and plate removal in November 2012.
I now have full ROM. I also have no pain. This is after almost 2 years of pain from my original injury. I do most things I used to. I still haven't tried bowling yet though. I would love to re-join my league this fall, but for some reason giving the bowling a try scares me after everything I went through. My surgeon says it is OK. My hand therapist says I could re-injure the area.
I did have trouble regaining full supination in the beginning. The rest of the movements returned much quicker. I'm not sure if it was the debridement or the plate removal that allowed me to regain the rest of my supination. It came back within a few months of my second surgery though.
Hello everyone, I am hoping someone could help answer some questions. It will b 6 weeks post ulnar resection on Tuesday currently under therapy now. Will start strength therapy Tuesday. I'm nervous because I can barely do pronation and supanation. I'm a nurse and there is no light duty for me so I want to know how physical therapy was for you all. I'm getting a little nervous just because I can barely use my hand. My leave has been extended for a total of seven weeks now, Kinda would like to know how therapy was, as far as pain control, and timeframe of therapy. Thank you all so much.
The following user gives a hug of support to mydeedee: MountainReader (08-31-2013)