The risks of wrist surgery are few, but as with all surgeries there are some risks. Let’s say the patient undergoes wrist arthroscopy, where the surgeon uses an arthroscope. This is an instrument that holds a tiny camera and light and is inserted into the wrist to better guide the doctor through the procedure. This procedure is used to treat everything from chronic wrist pain, to fractures, to carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts and ligament tears. The surgeon might make other tiny portals around the wrist to make operating in such a small place easier. When the operation is done these portals are closed up with tiny stitches and bandaged. Normally a patient recovers completely from wrist arthroscopy in a few weeks.
Complications, which are very rare, include infection at the sites of the portals, injuries to the nerves and an unusual amount of swelling and bruising. The patient might also bleed more than is usual, have scarring, or a tendon in the wrist might have been inadvertently torn. The skills of a good surgeon can lower the likelihood of these complications. The patient should also heed the doctor’s instructions as to how to take care of their wrist after it was operated on. The wrist should be elevated for the first couple of days after the operation and the patient should be careful to keep any bandages dry and clean. The doctor might also give the patient a series of exercises to help build up the strength of the wrist, which can also reduce complications.