A Visit to the Surgeon.
I have seen the surgeon for my follow up appointment. The bandage is off and the stitches are out. I have two small cuts from where the probe went in. Pain at this point is back to where it was previously, and any additional pain must just be scarring tissue. So doing quite well.
We discussed exactly what he saw during the Arthroscopy and what is required to be done.
It boils down to two choices
- Do nothing. Cope with the pain as it is now. In 5 – 10 years it will have developed into chronic arthritis. The range of motion in my wrist will be almost nothing. I risk requiring a full wrist fusion to relieve pain.
- Surgical intervention. This involves a large incision over the top of my wrist. A small hole is drilled into each of the Scaphoid and Lunate bones. Metal bone anchors are placed into each hole and a tendon harvested from the other side of my wrist (another large incision) is threaded through each anchor. Wires and placed to help the tendon graft in place correctly. Basically a knee reconstruction in a finer scale, with massive wounds.
Q and A with the surgeon.
- Grade of tear and degree of instability – Grade III ( of IV) with no gross instability. Good news!
- Expected progression with no surgery – see above.
- Recovery time if surgery/ progression – 3 Months in a cast. Wires are removed as an outpatient procedure. 6 months physical therapy before resuming normal activities with weight more than 5kg and sports.
- Surgeons experience – Specialist hand surgeon. Last procedure of this kind was 2 weeks ago.
- Any lost movement – Some extension and flexion will be lost. I may never do a press up again.
- Any further surgery – No surgery comes with a money back guarantee, basically no comment.
- Arthritis – Possible.
- Surgeons question for me was – is changing jobs an option? I fired back with would he want to give up his job (he is very passionate very talented surgeon). Being a programmer is my lively hood. I will NOT give it up this early in the game.
To me this is a no brainer, I am having the surgery. I have read around quite a lot and feel very informed about this procedure (Google books for Orthopedic Surgery text books for the win). I have also read about peoples experiences with this injury. Pain after the surgery sounds quite bad, the surgeon warned me of this and told me that his last patient was still eating Tramadol two weeks on. But he’s a silly boy and I am way tougher than any silly boy ! I really hope I can be tougher – Tramadol is no fun, I am either asleep all day or completely out of my head.
As for long term recovery – I have read many journal articles which give numbers which indicate perhaps 80% of people have good to excellent results and are completely pain free. Great news for me because I WILL be in that 80%. Determination and common sense should be all I need to ensure this.
These are the activities I would like to be able to do pain free within a year
- Use a keyboard and a mouse for long periods without pain (i.e get my life back)
- Pressing or gripping down while moving – activities like doing the dishes/ pulling pants up.
- Be back at Judo – readjust my technique to be left handed.
Stay tuned – Once I have heard from ACC (~3 weeks) I should shortly after get a date for surgery. I hope to be on the table as soon as possible. Hopefully within 2 months. The sooner I can get this done – the sooner I am on my path to getting back to normal.