I had my first De Quervain's release surgery in March 2012 (it was caused by new mommy motions - especially nursing my daughter), and surgery was a last resort after a cortisone shot and NSAIDs provided no relief. I also had a ganglion cyst on the tendon. I was splinted for almost 2 weeks and then went for my post-op - the doctor took my cast off and said I did not need physical therapy and that taking care of my infant would be therapy enough and to call him if I had any problems. Two weeks later I was in excruciating pain and could hardly move my wrist so I went back to him and he sent me to physical therapy. Things were going relatively well until July when the pain came back with a vengeance. I went back to see the orthopedist and he thought the tendons might be stuck together so he gave me a cortisone shot and sent me back to therapy and said he wanted to see me back in 6 weeks. The cortisone shot did nothing and I went to my first PT appointment in tears because I was in so much pain. The therapist referred me to a hand and wrist specialist and strongly encouraged me to give him a call, so I did. I went to see him in early August of 2012 and was immediately impressed - he spent an entire hour with me at my first appointment and x-rayed my wrist to rule out a joint problem, and he injected novicain into my tendon to isolate the problem. He then sent me for an MRI and a nerve test. I got both of those done and went back to him - the nerve test showed that no nerves were damaged, but the MRI showed that the tendon was still very inflamed. He told me he could give me another cortisone shot but that it wasn't likely to do anything since the last one hadn't offered any relief, or he told me he could go in and surgically re-explore the inflamed tendon. I opted for surgery, and he performed surgery in October 2012. After surgery, he told my husband and I that the tendon had not been fully released during the first surgery and that the nerve was stuck in a lot of scar tissue but that he freed it up and removed as much scar tissue as he could. I was splinted for about a week, and when I went back to see him and he removed it, he started me in PT right away. In late November when I went back to him, I complained of a burning pain in my wrist, and he diagnosed me with a mild case of RSD and sent me for a series of stellate blocks. I saw a pain management specialist and had 3 blocks done - the first one lasted for about a week, the second one lasted 48 hours, and the third only lasted for about 8 hours. I went back and saw him again, and he sent me for an MRI of my neck (because I'd been in a rear-end car accident) to see if I had a slipped disc that might have been pinching a nerve, but that showed that everything there was normal. I saw him last week, and he told me that it's solely a nerve problem now and no longer a tendon issue. He injected novicain to numb the nerve and I felt great - no pain at all. He said my options now are to live with the pain or to resect the nerve. If he resects it, it's another outpatient surgery that he'll go in and remove the nerve from my elbow all the way down to my wrist along with all the branches of it. I'll be permanently numb down the back of my forearm and wrist/hand but I also won't have any pain. I'll still have feeling on my palm/fingertips. He gave me a longer lasting novicain injection and when I got home, I was able to pick up my toddler normally for the first time in a year and a half. He told me to think about it and let him know what I decide. I'm very torn and have no idea what to do - living with chronic pain is not appealing at all, but choosing to sever feeling isn't either.
Has anyone else had nerve issues after De Quervain's release or am I the only one?
I understand the situation you are currently facing. Since this has been identified as a sole nerve issue and anesthetics have worked well, I would agree to the treatment option suggested by your doctor. While anesthetic injections may help temporarily with relief, resection would be a permanent solution albeit some side effects. Well, the decision in the situation is entirely upto you after considering the pros and cons in depth.
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