Wrist Joint Replacement

Article by Dr. Darren R Keiser MD

Joint replacement surgery in the wrist is less common than knee or hip replacement, but can be an option if you have painful arthritis that does not respond to other treatments. In wrist joint replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the wrist bones are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis.

The wrist is a more complicated joint than the hip or the knee. On the hand side of the wrist, there are two rows of bones at the base of the hand. There are four bones in each row. The bones in these rows are called the carpals. The long thin bones of the hand radiate out from one row of carpals and form the basis of the fingers and thumb.

The radius and the ulna are the two bones of the forearm that form a joint with the first row of carpals. The ends of the bones are covered with an elastic tissue, called cartilage. Cartilage creates a slick surface that enables the bones to move smoothly when they move against each other.

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Article URL: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00019