What can I expect after my wrist replacement surgery?

After surgery, your wrist will probably be put in a splint and covered by a bulky bandage. You may also have a small plastic tube that drains blood from the joint. Draining prevents excessive swelling from the blood. (This swelling is sometimes called a hematoma.) The draining tube will probably be removed within the first day.

The bandage and splint will keep the wrist in a natural position during healing. Your surgeon will want to check your wrist within five to seven days. Stitches will be removed after ten to fourteen days, although most of them will have been absorbed into your body. You may have some discomfort after surgery. Your doctor can give you medication to control any pain.

You should keep your hand elevated above the level of your heart for several days to avoid swelling and throbbing. Keep it propped up on a stack of pillows when sleeping or sitting.

You will wear an arm-length cast with the wrist placed in a neutral position for up to six weeks after surgery. A physical or occupational therapist will direct your recovery program. Recovery from wrist replacement surgery takes up to three months.