What is it?
A wrist arthroscopy is a form of keyhole surgery in which a surgeon uses a small camera (arthroscope) to look inside and examine the wrist – click on the links below for the surgeon’s-eye view.
Why am I having it?
The most common reason for having a wrist arthroscopy is to allow the surgeon to investigate the cause of your wrist complaint further. Occasionally, the cause of your wrist complaint can be treated at the same time with the help of a wrist arthroscope. This will be discussed with you in more detail.
What does it involve?
A wrist arthroscopy can normally be performed as a day case procedure in theatre. A general anaesthetic or regional anaesthetic (block) is required. During the surgery, two or three small incisions are made on the back of the wrist through which the arthroscope is passed into the wrist. The inside of the wrist is then examined on a television screen. Photographs may be taken of the inside of your wrist for your medical records. When you leave hospital your wrist will usually have a bulky dressing on your hand. This should be removed 10-14 days after surgery when your stitches are removed. Unless you are told otherwise, you should try to use your wrist normally.
What are the risks of having it?
The risks of having a wrist arthroscopy are very small but they include infection, bleeding, nerve injury and tendon injury. There may be some stiffness in your wrist after surgery and physiotherapy may be organised for you.
Are there any alternatives?
Yes. Depending on the nature of your wrist complaint, it may be possible to investigate the cause of it in other ways.