Hand Surgery: Joint Replacement
Sometimes arthritis is so troublesome that it requires hand surgery. There is no need to live with pain and inconvenience when there is a viable solution.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Patients are diagnosed with arthritis of the hands or wrists when they continue to complain of pain, swelling, and stiffness in those joints. When a person moves these parts of the body, the pain worsens, making it difficult to do things like typing, writing, or even opening a jar in the kitchen. Most people take these movements for granted and could not imagine being impaired in this way.
The joints in the hands often change in appearance when affected by arthritis. Different bumps and nodes are often found at the joints at the ends of the fingers. Often called Heberden's nodes, they create pain and cause the area to swell. When arthritis affects the wrist, some of the same symptoms occur. The only way to relieve the pain, aside from surgeries, is to put on a splint to immobilize it.
After the diagnosis of severe arthritis, the doctor and patient need to talk and make a decision about how to proceed. A joint replacement is often the last resort as there are other surgical procedures to consider first. It is possible to clean any of the cartilage that seems abnormal as well as the bone. This procedure is used when the pain comes from the wear and tear of this area of the body or from rheumatoid arthritis. During this hand surgery bone spurs are removed as well.
If the cleaning is not enough, it is possible to fuse the joint together in order to solve the problem. In this case, the surgeon puts the two bones together. On the upside, the pain is usually gone. Unfortunately, because it is bone on bone, there will be limited movement.
Finally, if these procedures are not working, joint replacement may be the only alternative in hand surgery. Most people do not want to live with the pain and limited movement that comes with severe arthritis. When bone rubs on bone, the pain can feel unbearable along with the swelling and grinding. The new joint is often composed of silicone or it can be created using a portion of a patient's tendon.
If you suspect that you might benefit from hand surgery, make an appointment with your doctor for more information. There is no need to live with the effects of severe arthritis.
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