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Wrist Surgery Recovery Time

Updated April 13, 2017

The recovery time from wrist surgery will depend on reason for surgery and whether it is an open surgery, such as a wrist replacement or arthroscopic wrist surgery.

Arthroscopy

Wrist arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure with a minimal recovery time. The first days after arthroscopic wrist surgery, you need to keep your wrist elevated to minimise swelling. Exercises will help you rebuild the strength of your hand and wrist, as well as maintain range of motion. Arthroscopic ligament repair recovery time is normally six weeks with regaining full strength by three months, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Arthroplasty

Replacing the wrist joint, or wrist arthroplasty, is a common treatment for severe arthritis, but it involves a longer recovery period. A cast needs to be worn over the wrist for several weeks after arthroplasty. After the cast is removed, a splint is worn for several weeks and exercises are gradually introduced to restore motion and improve strength.

Medication

You will most likely receive antibiotics through an IV and then take oral antibiotics to prevent infection. Pain medication will be given intravenously and then through pills. Depending on the type of surgery, steroid medications may be provided to reduce inflammation.

Complications

Wrist surgery can involve complications, such as infection, nerve injuries, swelling, excessive bleeding or tearing tendons.

Tips

If you type or engage in a repetitive motion that might affect your wrists and hands, take breaks and rest periodically to alleviate the strain and promote healing.

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About the Author

Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.