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What Is A Capitate Resurfacing?
Capitate resurfacing, also known as capitate replacement or capitate arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure performed to address joint damage and restore function in the wrist. The capitate is one of the small carpal bones located in the middle of the wrist, and it plays a vital role in wrist movement and stability.
In certain cases of wrist arthritis or advanced wrist degeneration, the articular surface of the capitate bone may become damaged, resulting in pain, limited range of motion, and reduced wrist function. Capitate resurfacing is considered when conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief, and the joint damage is confined primarily to the capitate bone.
The Capitate Resurfacing Procedure: During the capitate resurfacing procedure, the damaged articular surface of the capitate bone is removed, and a metal implant is placed to cover and resurface the bone. The metal implant serves as a replacement for the damaged cartilage, providing a smooth and functional joint surface.
The surgical steps typically include:
- Incision: The surgeon makes an incision on the back of the wrist to access the capitate bone.
- Bone Preparation: The damaged cartilage and any loose fragments are removed from the capitate bone to create a clean surface.
- Implant Placement: The metal implant, usually made of cobalt-chromium or titanium, is precisely sized and placed over the prepared capitate bone surface.
- Closure: After the implant is securely placed, the incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples.
Recovery and Rehabilitation: Following capitate resurfacing surgery, patients will have their wrist immobilized with a splint or cast for a period to allow for proper healing. Physical therapy and hand therapy are essential components of the recovery process, aiming to regain wrist function, strength, and range of motion.
Recovery times can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. Patients are typically advised to avoid heavy lifting and activities that place significant stress on the wrist during the initial healing phase.
Benefits and Risks: Capitate resurfacing aims to relieve pain, improve wrist function, and restore joint mobility in patients with isolated capitate arthritis. Compared to more extensive wrist joint replacement surgeries, capitate resurfacing may preserve more natural wrist anatomy and stability.
As with any surgical procedure, capitate resurfacing carries potential risks and complications, including infection, implant failure, nerve or blood vessel injury, and post-operative stiffness.
It is essential for patients to discuss the potential benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of capitate resurfacing with their orthopedic surgeon. The decision to undergo capitate resurfacing should be based on a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s specific condition and medical history.