Joint Fusions of Fingers and Wrist
Joint fusion is a surgical procedure that involves removal of the damaged ends of the joint and fusing them together. Fusion prevents the movement of the joint, but keeps it aligned and relieves the pain.
Arthritis of the finger and wrist damages the articular cartilage which results in pain and inflammation.
Finger fusion: It is a common surgical procedure done if the cartilage or bone in the finger is completely damaged due to arthritis. The tendons are separated so that the two ends of the bone are brought closer for fusion. The articular cartilage from both the joint surfaces are removed and metal pins and screws inserted. Metal pins and screws help to connect the two bones together and prevent the movement of these bones allowing them to fuse. The soft tissues are stitched and dressings applied.
Usually a cast or splint is not required.
Wrist fusion: A contoured plate is fixed at the back of the wrist joint using metal screws. The entire articular cartilage is removed from the wrist, allowing the bone to fuse with the metal plate.
Cast or splints are not usually required and the patients are allowed to move their finger after the surgery. Swelling is observed which can be reduced by elevation above the heart level for few weeks after surgery.
Rehabilitation is often generally suggested after the surgery which helps to control pain and swelling. Gentle massages and strengthening exercises will help to improve the grip strength and movement.