Our aim is to get your scaphoid fracture to heal with an operation.
If your scaphoid fracture heals, most of the pain that you have should go. More importantly, you are much less likely to develop arthritis in the wrist if the scaphoid is in one piece.
Are there any alternative treatments?
If your break is out of place (displaced) or it has failed to heal (unite) after treatment in a cast, there is no satisfactory alternative treatment.
Some people try plaster for 3 months but in reality if the fracture is not healed after 8 weeks in a plaster cast it is unlikely to ever heal.
What if you do nothing?
Fresh fracture - If the fragments of the broken scaphoid remain out of place and you do not have an operation, your fracture probably will not heal. You will then go onto have a non-union or un-united scaphoid.
Old fracture - non-union - If your scaphoid remains broken, you will probably develop arthritis in your wrist in a few years time. The joint will then become inflamed and painful.
Who should have it done?
If you have no other wrist problems you should have your fracture fixed.
Who should not have it done?
If you have had an un-united scaphoid for a long time and have developed arthritis in the wrist, you may not benefit from this operation. This depends on the severity of the arthritis.
Author: Mr Boyd Goldie MBBS FRCS BSC DHMSA. Consultant in orthopaedics & trauma.
© Dumas Ltd 2006