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Carpectomy Specialist

Ortho 1 Medical Group

Orthopedic Specialists located in La Jolla, CA & Chula Vista, CA

When advanced wrist arthritis causes debilitating pain, it’s time to talk with the board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Ortho 1 Medical Group about a carpectomy. The skilled team recommends this surgical procedure to patients with degenerative wrist disease who seek long-lasting pain relief and improved wrist mobility. To learn if a carpectomy can help you, call the office in San Diego, Chula Vista, La Jolla, or Coronado, California, today or book an appointment online.

Carpectomy Q&A

What is a carpectomy?

Carpectomy is surgery that relieves wrist pain by removing some of your wrist bones. Your wrist contains eight bones called carpal bones, roughly organized into two rows.

During a carpectomy, also called proximal row carpectomy, your surgeon removes the three carpal bones in the row closest to your arm. Eliminating the bones creates a gap that relieves stress in the joint, lessens the friction between the wrist bones, and eases pain.

The procedure changes the structure of your wrist and reduces its range of motion compared with normal wrist movement. However, it preserves limited mobility, which is a significant improvement over a wrist that was too painful and stiff to move before the carpectomy.

Why would I need a carpectomy?

Having osteoarthritis is the most common reason to have a carpectomy. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between bones to break down and wear away. Since osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, you keep losing more cartilage until the bones rub against each other. This can create excruciating pain.

As your osteoarthritis gets worse, so do your symptoms. You end up with crippling pain and loss of movement in your wrist.

Your provider could also recommend a carpectomy for other degenerative wrist conditions, including:

Post-traumatic arthritis

Wrist injuries raise your risk of developing arthritis. Two of the most common causes of post-traumatic wrist arthritis are scapholunate advanced collapse (SLAC) wrist and scaphoid nonunion advanced collapse (SNAC) wrist.

Arthritis begins following a ligament injury in SLAC, while SNAC develops when one of the three bones doesn’t heal following a fracture.

Kienböck disease

In this condition, blood flow to one of the wrist bones is interrupted, eventually killing the bone and causing it to collapse. A carpectomy removes the dead bone along with the two other bones.

Chronic dislocation

Following an injury, the lunate, one of the three bones, keeps dislocating. This causes damage that speeds up the development of arthritis.

What happens after I have a carpectomy?

After a carpectomy, you wear a splint or cast to keep your wrist immobilized while the tissues heal. However, it’s essential to keep moving your fingers to prevent stiffness.

It can take several months for all the soreness and stiffness to go away, but once your wrist heals, you should have long-term pain relief.

If arthritis or degenerative diseases affect your wrist, call Ortho 1 Medical Group or book an appointment online today.