Three months ago I fell skiing and hurt my thumb. It took two months to diagnose the pain, but after an MRI we've determined it's a full Rupture of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (metacarpel). My doctor has given me the option of reconstructive surgery to attach the ligament, or simply casting it for three months and seeing if it heals on his own. He said they have the same chance of working and it's my decision-- 50/50.
My thumb isn't in much pain. I have about 90 percent of motion. I can't pinch tightly or open it all the way, but I do not have a "floppy" thumb, as many sources say I should have with a full rupture. My thumb doesn't bend in any abnormal way.
My question is: should I get surgery or should I just try the cast? (I'm worried that because it's not so bad right now, getting surgery might be too invasive and cause more problems than its worth. As a counter-argument, it's been three months, so I'm not sure it will heal on its own.)
Only you can make that decision. But I can tell you I have had two operations on one hand and wrist and it involved ligaments and tendons. I dealt with the problem for 5 years, with it progressively getting worse. When I stopped working in the medical field and went to a job where I typed for 10 hours a day, you can imagine the pain it caused. I decided to have the surgery. I have to say it was probably the best decision I ever made. The pain went away, after physical therapy I regained full movement and strength. I have some pain every now and then when I work for long periods of time without taking a break, but other than that everything is corrected and I feel great again. Just remember, if you opt not to have the surgery, it could present problems later down the line. You need your ligaments. Again, only you can make the decision on whether or not to have the surgery. You just have to weigh the options of how long you will be off work, how long you will be unable to use that hand, how long the rehabilitation will be, what problems it could present in the future, etc. If you are confused, talk to your doctor about your concerns and see what he feels is the best way to approach this. I hope you get better soon.
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