Right now I am debating having surgery on my hand. It would be arthroscopic and minimally invasive, but still surgery and for me the possibility of returning to a cast looms. Since most people reading this don’t really know me so I will provide a brief background…
Last March (almost 10 months ago!) I broke my wrist while on vacation in The Bahamas. I was playing tennis at the time and slipped while serving on the clay courts. I went straight down at top speed and fractured my scaphoid. The scaphoid is literally the worst bone you can break since it does not get enough blood flow to heal properly or in a timely manner. My treatment consisted of 10 weeks in a cast, followed by 6 weeks in a brace and then freedom, but immediately into Occupational Therapy and then Physical Therapy which is where I still am today – twice a week. The length of my immobilization caused MAJOR atrophy and allowed for a vast amount of scare tissue to develop. (You can expect the healing process to be 3 times the length of time immobilized. For me it’s 16 weeks x 3 – 48 weeks!!)
In December I learned that in addition to the fracture, which is finally healing, I also have damaged cartilage and ligaments in my hand which has been causingmy general loss of flexibility, cracking and popping, general stiffness and of course some pain.
Since this is my right hand and I am right handed I am faced with the very real possibility that my hand will never be the same. At the moment, my left hand is actually stronger than my right which is a weird thing since I have never been ambidextrous. Anyway, the surgery would allow for the cartilage to be potentially fixed and the ligament damage to be explored. According to my doctor, there is about a 95% chance that the cartilage can be fixed which should offer some relief. There is a 5% chance that when he scopes my hand we will learn that the damage is more severe than expected and to fix it will require that I return to a cast for 4-6 weeks.
At this point he is not recommending working on the ligaments as they can not be repaired through this type of surgery and would require a significant healing process and a return to a cast as well.
I am leaning towards the surgery since I want my hand to be back as much as it can, but am worried that the damage will be bad. I have not had much luck with my hand since the injury so far… A new cast means additional immobilization which means that I take a step back in my recovery in order to hopefully be able to go further than I have gotten today. Well – something to sleep on anyway.