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Preparing for Your Total Wrist Replacement: Steps and Tips

Preparing for a total wrist replacement can be a daunting process, but with the right steps and tips, you can ensure a smoother and more successful surgery. Total wrist replacement is a surgical procedure that involves replacing a damaged wrist joint with an artificial joint. This procedure is typically recommended for individuals with severe wrist arthritis or other conditions that cause chronic wrist pain and limited mobility. In this article, we will explore the steps and tips to help you prepare for your total wrist replacement surgery.

Step 1: Consultation with a Specialist

The first step in preparing for a total wrist replacement is to schedule a consultation with a specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon or a hand surgeon. During this consultation, the specialist will evaluate your condition, review your medical history, and conduct a physical examination of your wrist. They may also order additional tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to get a better understanding of the extent of the damage to your wrist joint.

It is important to be open and honest with your specialist during this consultation. Discuss your symptoms, any previous treatments you have tried, and your expectations for the surgery. This will help the specialist determine if you are a suitable candidate for a total wrist replacement and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Step 2: Preoperative Evaluation

Once you have been deemed a suitable candidate for a total wrist replacement, you will undergo a preoperative evaluation. This evaluation is essential to ensure that you are in optimal health for the surgery and to identify any potential risks or complications.

The preoperative evaluation may include:

  • A complete blood count (CBC) to check for any underlying infections or blood disorders.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) to assess your heart’s electrical activity.
  • A chest X-ray to evaluate the health of your lungs and heart.
  • A urine test to check for any urinary tract infections.
  • A review of your medications to determine if any adjustments need to be made prior to the surgery.

It is important to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare team regarding fasting before the surgery and any medications that need to be stopped prior to the procedure.

Step 3: Preparing Your Home

Before undergoing a total wrist replacement, it is important to make some preparations at home to ensure a smooth recovery. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home:

  • Arrange your living space to minimize the need for reaching or bending. Move frequently used items to easily accessible locations.
  • Install handrails or grab bars in your bathroom and along staircases to provide support and stability.
  • Remove any tripping hazards, such as loose rugs or clutter, to reduce the risk of falls.
  • Consider purchasing assistive devices, such as a shower chair or a reacher, to help with daily activities.
  • Stock up on essential supplies, such as bandages, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain medications.

By making these preparations in advance, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your recovery.

Step 4: Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Physical therapy and rehabilitation play a crucial role in the recovery process after a total wrist replacement. Your healthcare team will provide you with a personalized rehabilitation plan that may include:

  • Range of motion exercises to improve flexibility and mobility in your wrist.
  • Strengthening exercises to build muscle strength and stability.
  • Functional training to help you regain the ability to perform daily activities.
  • Pain management techniques, such as ice therapy or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

It is important to follow your rehabilitation plan diligently and attend all scheduled physical therapy sessions. This will help optimize your recovery and improve the long-term outcomes of your total wrist replacement.

Step 5: Emotional and Mental Preparation

Undergoing a total wrist replacement can be emotionally and mentally challenging. It is normal to experience a range of emotions, including anxiety, fear, or frustration. To help you cope with these emotions, consider the following tips:

  • Stay informed: Educate yourself about the procedure, the expected outcomes, and the potential risks and complications. This will help alleviate some of the anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who have gone through similar experiences. Sharing your concerns and fears with others who understand can provide comfort and reassurance.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in activities that help you relax and reduce stress, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or listening to calming music.
  • Stay positive: Maintain a positive mindset and focus on the potential benefits of the surgery. Visualize yourself recovering successfully and regaining your wrist function.

Remember, it is normal to have ups and downs during the recovery process. Be patient with yourself and trust in the expertise of your healthcare team.


Preparing for a total wrist replacement involves several important steps, including consultation with a specialist, preoperative evaluation, preparing your home, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and emotional and mental preparation. By following these steps and tips, you can ensure a smoother and more successful surgery, as well as optimize your recovery and long-term outcomes.

Remember, each individual’s experience with a total wrist replacement may vary. It is important to consult with your healthcare team for personalized advice and guidance throughout your journey. With proper preparation and support, you can regain wrist function and improve your quality of life.

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