The Average Recovery Time for Wrist Surgery

Written by tracy hodge
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The wrist is a joint that assists the movement of the hand. There are many types of conditions that may make surgery necessary to restore full function of the wrist. Recovery time depends on the type of wrist surgery and the overall health of the patient.

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Ganglion Cyst

A ganglion cyst is a cyst that forms on the top of the wrist, thumb, the end of a finger or at the base of a finger. This cyst contains fluid that can put pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Women are more likely to suffer from this condition than men. Ganglion cysts can be removed with surgery; however, there is no way to tell if they will grow back again. There is some mild swelling and tenderness after surgery. The average recovery time from this surgery is two to six weeks.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain in the wrist. This is due to the swelling and pressure placed on the median nerve in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome may also cause tingling and numbness in the hand and a loss of grip strength. Surgery for this condition is done on an outpatient basis. The recovery is gradual with grip strength improving within two months, but full recovery may take up to one year.

Scaphoid Fracture

The scaphoid is a bone in the wrist that is located where the wrist bends. This type of fracture usually occurs from a fall or sporting accident. When the scaphoid is broken at the proximal pole, surgery is recommended to place pins or screws in the joint. The wrist is usually placed in a cast after surgery and may take a long time to heal. If the scaphoid bone does not heal properly, the surgeon may recommended additional surgery to graft bone to the area.

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests such as X-rays or MRIs often are done to determine if surgery is needed on the wrist. If at all possible, the doctor will attempt non-surgical treatment before surgery.


There are risks associated with all types of surgery. Some of the risks associated with surgery may be bleeding, infection, surgery failure and trouble with anaesthesia. Consult your doctor prior to surgery to discuss these risk factors.

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