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BIDMC Orthopedic Surgeon Takes a Hands On Approach To Repairing Wrists

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon Charles S. Day, MD, is offering two new techniques to ease the pain of patients with aching wrists caused by either arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

BOSTON - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon Charles S. Day, MD, is offering two new techniques to ease the pain of patients with aching wrists caused by either arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Day is the premier surgeon in Boston to perform total wrist replacements using a new prosthetic device that provides patients with a functional range of motion, better wrist balance and better stability.

Today, the most common treatment for people suffering from wrist arthritis is total wrist fusion, which eliminates pain but prevents wrist movement. Although total wrist arthroplasty has been offered in the U.S. since the 1970s, most implants have not proven to be clinically effective due to design issues and the complex biomechanics of the wrist.

"This procedure offers patients an option for painful wrists other than the fusion. The benefits of the procedure make it more attractive option to all patients with wrist arthritis," says Day.

The orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon also offers an improved minimally invasive option for people dealing with the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), an ailment that affects up to 8 million people with pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.

CTS occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. That nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

The carpal tunnel - a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand - houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and compressing the nerve and causing pain.

Although minimally invasive procedures have been available since the 1990s, the earlier versions of the procedure has been out of favor because surgeons could not clearly see the nerves and arteries in the palm, Day says. This new procedure offers not only a much better view for the surgeon, but both pain relief and a quicker recovery than traditional surgery for the patient.

For additional information, please call 617-667-2112.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks fourth in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.