HealthBoards (
-   Arm, Wrist & Hand (
-   -   Ulnar shortening (

MountainReader 01-07-2012 11:26 PM

Ulnar shortening
[COLOR="Indigo"][B]Has anyone out there had a successful ulnar shortening experience? Looking back, would you have the surgery again? Was it worth it?[/B][/COLOR]

Currently, I have a positive ulnar variance. In the last year, I've sprained my wrist 3 times. My orthopedic hand specialist is recommending ulnar shortening to help prevent future injuries and further long term problems. Right now, I have strength and movement in my wrist, but I'm having pain with gripping motions since my sprain 4 1/2 months ago still hasn't fully healed. I'm looking at arthroscopic surgery for that, but the doctor wants to do the shortening during the same surgery. I have to decide whether or not to have the procedure.

booboo31 01-09-2012 01:04 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Hi I'm new here. I'm having arthroscopy and ulnar osteotomy in the same op. I've had my pre op assesment so just waiting for the date now. I found out that I'll have a temp cast on til i go home the following day, then have a back slab for 2 weeks then have a fibre cast on for 4/6 weeks then start physio.

I was given a couple of leaflets about anesthetic and blood clots. I'll also have to have an injection in my tummy to thin my blood but I'm not worried about that. A friend of mine said instead of having a gen anesthetic to have a nerve block and be awake when its done but I'm not sure. I'd rather be asleep then here wats goin on.

MountainReader 01-09-2012 07:28 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Hi booboo,

I had my follow-up with my Orthopedic doctor today. He wants to do the ulnar shortening and see how my wrist pain does after that. He seems to think if I take care of the Ulnar Impaction Symdrome that some of my other problems will heal up. Thankfully, I don't have any tears that showed up on the MRI. There is still a possibility I'll need to have the arthroscopic surgery down the line.

I filled out my paperwork for the surgery. I just need to call and confirm a date for surgery. I have to figure a time where I'll have a least impact for work. My doctor told me pretty much the same. I'll have a splint/cast on for 2 weeks until my follow-up appointment when I'll receive a cast. Then I'll begin wearing a removable splint about 4 weeks after that if all goes well and begin PT with a hand therapist at that time. I agree with you. I want to be asleep when they saw through the bone.

booboo31 01-10-2012 06:20 AM

Re: Ulnar shortening
dont blame you, I'm gunna ring the admissions dept this week to see if theres any date for me yet. As there wasnt any date last week. Hope they hurry up cos hubby needs to get time of work for it.

booboo31 01-10-2012 10:43 AM

Re: Ulnar shortening
have got my op date 22nd feb. so not long to go now

MountainReader 01-11-2012 10:46 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Hi booboo,

I found out today I'm scheduled for surgery on February 10th. I got clarification that I'll have the splint/cast that goes above the elbow until my 2 week follow-up, then the short cast for at least 4 weeks before moving to the removable splints.

Sounds like we will be able to go through this procedure together.

Here's wishing us well! :wave:

booboo31 01-12-2012 06:57 AM

Re: Ulnar shortening
yeah, got my letter thro this morning with all the gubbins in it and wat to expect. Had to ring to find out if im def staying in but shud be if not will be back the following day for back slab cast. Hope I'm stayin in cos I dont really want to travel after the general anesthetic.

We can be here for each other after the ops.

JG1000 01-27-2012 06:35 AM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Yes I've noticed that these forums are filled with horror stories. I had my surgery on 12 Dec 2011 so I'm now 6.5 weeks in. The surgery was on my right arm (I'm right handed).

The surgery itself was not half as scary as it sounds. For the first week I was in a plaster cast - below the elbow (although some surgeons favour the full cast mine saw no reason to use it). The worst part was having to keep the arm raised all the time for the first 5 days - tricky, I hooked the foam support sling onto a floor lamp (top tip from a nurse at the hospital) to give it some support - in the hospital they use a drip stand. The pain was really manageable, just take all the drugs exactly as they tell you - don't wait till it hurts just take them after the right number of hours. The worst part is the constipation the opiate based drugs they give you cause! I took the pain meds for three days then reduced them down, as it didn't hurt during the day I just took some before bed as you need to keep the arm raised at night for at least two weeks which puts a lot of pressure on your shoulder. If you don't have it raised enough then it swells and that's when it hurts....

After a week I was put into a removable thermoplastic splint. Which I still have to wear. I started physio 5.5 weeks in and at the moment we are trying to regain flexibility. Bending is good but pronation and supination (turning palm downwards and upwards) is very difficult - although completely normal at this stage.

I've had a great experience so far. My advice is not to push too hard too soon - I didn't use my hand at all for three weeks then only lightly since then (ie holding down a piece of bread with a flat hand so doesn't move while buttering it) not holding or gripping as that will cause issues with the tendons and ligaments of the wrist/hand which will undoubtedly have been damaged by the abutment of the ulnar onto the carpel bones. I have grade III ligament damage so it's not like it's perfect in there.

I work in an office so came back after the christmas break (three weeks after surgery) and just just use my left hand on the computer but if you need to use your hand at work I'd listen to your physiotherapist for advice.

So far I'd definitely say it was worth it, there have been times that I've been in more pain before surgery than after it.....and now even during physio I'm virtually pain free.

If you want to ask me any questions as you go through stuff let me know.

MountainReader 01-29-2012 02:35 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Thanks for your response JG1000. I've had some really long days this week and this is the first I've had time to really respond.

I'm glad to hear you are doing well. I hope my progress is as successful as yours has been. I appreciate your tips. I'm sure I'll put them to good use.

I'm right handed and having the surgery on that wrist as well. Thankfully, I don't have the same ligament damage. Right now, mine are just really inflammed. I'm hoping this surgery will help keep me from doing permenant damage since I already hurt it 3 times in the last year. I'm 5 months out from my last sprain and it still hasn't fully healed.

I've been on painkillers before so with regards to the constipation, I'm prepared to deal with that.

If you don't mind, I do have a couple questions though. I'll probably have even more later too.

You state you returned to work after 3 weeks. How long did your doctor actually recommend? Mine said I could return to work after I stopped needing the painkillers during the day and that he expected that to be about a week. Right now, I'm scheduled to return to light duty work after 11 days. Does that sound unreasonable? I'm in a department of 4 and unfortunately another co-worker is also out for surgery at the same time so I'd rather not take off for too long.

Also, what about driving? My orthopedic doctor said I could drive with the cast once I'm off the painkillers. Have you found that to be doable?

You mentioned the shoulder pressure, how bad has that been? I had decompression surgery on my right shoulder, same arm as where I'm having surgery this time, a couple years ago. My shoulder is prone to subluxation and the muscles are already frequently tight. I'm concerned about it getting worse. I spoke to my doc they won't do anything for the shoulder until I have problems enough to warrant their help.

I'm scheduled to be in the long arm cast for 10-14 days, then a short arm one for 4 weeks, then a splint.

I'm a bit concerned since I live alone. I have help 24/7 for the first 6 days. After that, I'm on my own. I'm not sure yet how well I'll cope and I'm worried. Any suggestions on things I could do to prepare in advance would be appreciated as well.

Thanks again. Take care.


MountainReader 02-05-2012 11:03 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening

How are you doing? How much longer will you be in your splint?

booboo31 02-06-2012 07:36 AM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Good luck for you op on Friday Mountain Reader. Hope all goes well and you recover quickly. Got another 2 week to wait for mine. And I've found out I am staying in the same day and goin home the following day.

MountainReader 02-06-2012 07:47 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Thanks BooBoo.

I almost wish I'd be in the hospital overnight. My surgery is in an outpatient surgical center. I'll be home within hours of my surgery. It usually takes me a little longer than usual to come out of the anesthesia and I get extremely nauseaus so the time right after the surgery is usually tough for me.

I'll keep you posted before you have your surgery.

Thanks for your well wishes. :wave:

booboo31 02-15-2012 02:37 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Hiya how you feeling?

Any tips I need for my op next week?

Hope your feeling and doin ok.

MountainReader 02-16-2012 09:49 PM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Hi BooBoo. I thought I responded last night. Must still be a bit under the influence of my meds. Typing is a bit difficult still.

My procedure went well. I went in for my appointment at 7:15 and was out about of the center on my way home about noon. I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up and found I was in a short cast instead of a long one.

I had a bunch of issues with nausea for the first day, but I have nausea issues with anesthesia on a whole.

I went home with prescriptions for percocet, a muscle relaxer, anti-nausea meds (which I need because of the percocet) and a stool softener. I stayed on the max dose of percocet for the first 4-5 days, and have tapered off on them. Today, I mixed in tylenol as well. Combined with constant icing, I've done well coping. The worst part of things was the constipation. I usually don't have problems, but the meds made things bad and the prescription didn't work. I called my GI doc and he just had me double up on dosages of Miralax which eventually did their job.

I'm happy to say that my splint is now a bit big around the hand because the swelling has significantly decreased. I'm looking forward to getting my other cast next Tuesday.

I did end up with an ugly bruise where they put my IV in on my left hand and a huge bruise on my upper right arm where they put the tournequette during surgery.

Overall, the experience has gone well so far (with the exception of one accidental bump :eek:). (Did I say ice was my friend? I loved my kitchen Ninja because it crushed the ice to snowcone fine which molded great in the ice pack.)

I'm looking forward to comparing notes.

Good luck with your procedure.

booboo31 02-17-2012 01:44 AM

Re: Ulnar shortening
Hi ya. I'm so glad your doin well. I'm gunna try and get on line a few days after my op. I'm not looking forward to the journey home the day after. Will defo keep you updated on how I get on next week.

Glad your getting better. Hope my recovery is like yours that's the bit I'm not looking forward to.

Talk again soon x

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:07 PM.