New Procedure for Wrist Fractures

New Procedure for Wrist Fractures
By:  Wendy Ray

If you've ever fractured your wrist you probably wore a cast, but studies show those casts fail to fix your wrist 70 percent of the time. S

urgery is another option, but it requires a lengthy recovery. If neither of those are right for you, now you have another option. I
t's called the MICRONAIL. It's the first and only FDA approved implant to treat wrist fractures in adults. It only requires a small incision and it cuts down recovery time by weeks and it's available in the Heartland.

James Ferguson had the MICRONAIL implanted into his broken wrist just five weeks ago. "Well I have full range of motion. It works just fine," James says. Orthopaedic surgeon Brian Schafer explains how it works. "There's a small incision right over the end of the wrist, we actually insert the MICRONAIL into the bone, inside the bone. That rigid piece of metal gives us a place to put three screws though that metal that support the end of the bone where it's broken," Dr. Schafer says. Those screws go through an incision on the side. Another incision is made on the top of your wrist. Two more screws go through the top of the bone to the bottom and through the nail, this makes the wrist solid again.

Dr. Schafer says the MICRONAIL enables patients to start using their wrist one to two weeks after surgery. James can move his wrist around just fine. "You can pretty much do what you want to now," Dr. Schafer says. "Good," James says.

Patients who have the MICRONAIL implant have to wear a splint the first week after surgery, the second week they get to wear a removable splint. Most insurance companies cover the procedure.