Fractures at the wrist usually involve the radius and occasionally the ulna. These are the two bones that form the forearm and when they are at the wrist they are called a distal radius fracture and distal ulna fracture.These are one of the most common fractures to occur. Often the injury is caused by a fall on an outstretch hand. Many of these fracture are minimally displaced and can be treated with a period of immobilization and avoidance of weight bearing on the wrist and hand. At times, a surgery is necessary to treat these fractures in order to optimize the patient’s outcome. This is termed a, open reduction and internal fixation.
The choice of treatment is dependent on the fracture pattern and displacement, the patient’s bone quality and the the patient’s functional needs of the wrist. Moderately displaced fracture can be treated non-operatively, however, there would be an anticipated loss of motion in the wrist as well and the possibility of chronic pain and possible arthritis change. Further discussion would be necessary with Dr. Lenarz on a case by case basis.
Ulnar nerve compression most commonly occurs at the elbow. This is called cubital tunnel syndrome. Surgical treatment of this is done through an incision at the elbow. The areas of constriction are then released. Occasionally, it is necessary to also transpose or move the nerve from its normal position to another position in the forearm.
Dr. Lenarz performs these procedure as an outpatient at the hospital or at a surgery center. No period of immobilization is required and recovery is usually quick, often with immediate symptom relief.