Has anyone refused surgery for a wrist fracture? Experiences please

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I have a distal radius fracture and have been advised to have a surgical reduction with a plate and screws as the bones have moved out of a good position. I originally had a closed reduction but at two weeks it had failed. I am desperate to avoid surgery because of the risk of serious complications. I am prepared to accept that this will lead to some loss of movement and stiffness. Has anyone else refused surgery and how are you now?

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda

    ive been suffering with my wrist for years now.  The first time I visited the hospital complaining about the pain, I had X-rays and was told the wrist was shattered and there was nothing they could do about it.

    When I went in 2015, the surgeon I saw had been looking at the X-ray I had taken in 2012, and straight away he said he was prepared to give me a complete new wrist.  He left the decision up to me.  He even said if it was 12 months later ask my doctor to refer me to the same surgeon.

    Well it's over 12 months and I still haven't made my mind up.  I've been for counselling and searched the operation, I don't know anyone who has had it.

    I am 70 years old and I am afraid if I have it I will have to stop driving.  Driving has always been my lifeline and especially since I had a hip replacement and I'm having problems with my foot.  I can't walk the way I used to.

    Let me know how you feel, and I wish you luck.  All the best

    Brenda C

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    • Posted

      Thank you for taking the time to reply. I totally understand your dilemma and hope that you can come up with a resolution. It's good that you are able to take time to condider your options. Perhaps you will know when the time is right.

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda;  I guess like the other  response to your question, may I ask how old are you? (if elderly, and you can stand the continual discomfort of your fracture, then let it be and see how you get on long-term??)

    ?I am not sure "what risk of serious complication/s" you are talking about?  I have witnessed Many open  reductions, with pinning/screws etc, and canot see what complications there should be ???  Even if elderly/smoker, then they can perform this op with only what is known as  a "nerve block to affected arm" ?   The recovery time should be the same as with a normal fracture, with your arm in a plaster following the surgery, and this is removed at the 6 weeks follow-up, and then physio to get muscles/wrist back into normal range of movement.

    ?This is quite a common surgery; and the only thing I would be considering is the Pain of surgery and following after.   If you don't have any other conditions, this should be bearable too, and treated with prescribed analgesia for first week or so, and then lighter pain relief of even panadol in most cases ??

    ?Perhaps if you can give us more of your medical history, I may be able to give you more accurate advice ??                                       Bron

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  • Posted

    I did have an op but only a plate on the left wrist. Then when I broke the right wrist and displaced a bone they thought I might need surgery. Thankfully I didn't as also looking after husband who had cancer. I don't know the other health problems you have or what will happen if you don't have the op. Have the told you?  I wish you good luck 

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your replies. I am 43 and in good health otherwise although the consultant has referred me for a bone density scan. I am particularly concerned about the risk of crps, which I understand can be totally disabling in the worst cases. My doctor has suggested the chance is about 1 in a hundred.. Low obviously but not insignificant. I also understand there can be problems with tendons and that a good recovery isn't always possible even with surgery. I am aware that each person will be different but as the main earner in a young family with a mortgage the potential risks are still worrying.

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  • Posted

    My twin sister broke her wrist about three years ago and the consultant suggested she had an operation to have a plate etc. and "what did she think". She said she wasn't very keen and couldn't they just pull it into shape and he agreed and that's what happened.  I asked her recently if she had any problems with it and she said that she didn't, it was more her broken leg from years ago that caused her more trouble. An operation would probably take weeks or even months to recover from and will be very inconvenient with day-to-day life, I would think very hard about having an operation unless it was really necessary.

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