I am having surgery to get rid of the arthritis pain in my wrist. In addition to fixing the wrist joint in place, my doctor wants to take out a piece of the scaphoid bone in my wrist. He says this will help my recovery. Is this a good idea?

Taking out the end of the scaphoid--the largest bone on the thumb side of the wrist--is one of the new developments in wrist surgery. Researchers recently tested this procedure on cadavers. They modeled a type of surgery in which the joint of the forearm bone and scaphoid is permanently fixed in place. Then they took out the part of the scaphoid that was farthest from the joint.

After joint fixation, wrist movement in the forward and backward directions went down 58 percent. But after taking out part of the scaphoid, it improved to 86 percent of normal. The researchers think this procedure gives patients better results from surgery by "releasing" the mid section of the wrist, allowing more movement. However, the procedure still needs to be tested on live human models.

Talk with your doctor about his experience with this kind of surgery. He can tell you more about the procedure he has in mind and how it will benefit you.