Scaphoid Fractures of the Wrist
A scaphoid fracture, also commonly referred to as a navicular fracture, is a small break in the bones of the wrist. This condition derives its name from the scaphoid bone, which is one of several carpal bones within the wrist, and is the most susceptible of these carpal bones to injury.
Causes and Symptoms of a Scaphoid Fracture
A majority of all scaphoid fractures occur when an individual instinctively tries to break their fall using their hand. When intense pressure is applied, the scaphoid bone becomes in danger of breaking slightly and causing a fair amount of pain.
More specifically, pain from a scaphoid fracture is likely to stem from the side of the hand near the thumb. Swelling, redness, and bruising are also frequently seen with this type of fracture, and many individuals will experience difficulty when trying to grip objects if their scaphoid bone has been injured.
These symptoms are also commonly seen in those who have suffered a sprain of the wrist, and so additional diagnostic testing may be required. These tests typically include an X-ray of the hand to give the physician a clear visual of the small bones within the wrist. An MRI or a CT scan may be ordered as an alternative, as X-ray imaging may remain inconclusive if the scaphoid bone is not displaced.
Treatment Options Offered in Houston, TX
In some cases, a scaphoid fracture may heal on its own if properly set. This is often the first recommendation given by our hand surgery specialists
, which will also include necessary immobilization of the area to keep the bones in position as they attempt to heal. A cast will usually extend over the thumb and part way down the forearm to achieve full immobilization, though the physician may alter this length slightly depending on the particular patient and case.
Surgery to Repair a Scaphoid Fracture
If in the event that cast immobilization is not an option due to severe injury or failure of the scaphoid fracture to heal after 12+ weeks, surgical intervention may be required to stabilize the wrist. The experienced physicians at the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas are able to complete such surgical procedures using as few incisions as possible in order to limit the patient’s risk for potential complications.
During this procedure, the scaphoid bone will be guided into its proper position after the wrist has been fully numbed so that the patient does not feel any discomfort.
Metal implants may be used to manually hold the scaphoid bone together after it has broken apart. This implant can vary in size and exact location depending on the fracture’s severity. The length of the incision will also depend on these factors, as it will need to be large enough to insert and manipulate the metal implant.
This surgical method is often used in combination with internal fixation, but can also be performed as a stand-alone procedure as well. During a bone graft, healthy bone is taken from another area of the body and placed around an injured bone to promote faster recovery. The donor bone used for scaphoid bone grafting is frequently taken from the patient’s own arm or hip.
Contact Our Experts Today
If you experience significant and lasting pain within your hand, it is always best to schedule a professional consultation before additional damage may occur. Call the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas at (713) 686-7166
, or simply submit a request online
to make an appointment at one of our five convenient locations around Houston!