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TFCC Tear Surgery with Ulnar Shortening
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TFCC Tear Surgery with Ulnar Shortening

I am having my TFCC tear (Ulna will be shortened also) arthroscopically repaired on the 23rd and have some questions for those who have gone through the surgery. I am wondering what the recovery was like? Were you in a cast? Did they need to place any drains? How long in Physical Therapy? Were you out of work?

In addition to repairing the tear they are doing a biopsy because on the MRI we found a suspicious lesion suggesting the possibility of Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis (PVNS). I have had this in my knee before but traditionally it does not effect more than one joint so they are not sure what it is.

So most of my questions were pertaining to the biopsy and I could not get many of my other questions answered. I am hoping someone who has gone through this can help!  Thanks in advance!!!

Jen
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965215_tn?1274958773
I was curious as to know how long ago you tore your tfcc and are you getting a complete debribement of the tfcc? I am assuming you have an ulnar variance? I didn't have my ulnar shortened but I did have a debribement of my tfcc and that was done 19 months ago. I think because of it I am going to need an ulnar shortening. I still have pain on the ulnar side of my wrist. After I got it "fixed" I spent 12 weeks in a cast and had 5 months of physical therapy. I had torn other ligaments in my hand and that might be the reason for such along time in my cast.
After I had gotten an MRI and fluroscopy done they said I had lesion and it turned out to be a cyst. Which from what I was told can form after an injury.
Good luck to you and sorry I couldn't be more helpful
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521161_tn?1212369304
I tore it quite a while ago (over a year ago) and it has healed improperly. I continued to have pain and swelling and they did an MRI that showed the lesion and the tear. They think that my ulna is protruding into my wrist because of an elbow injury (injured at the same time as the tear).  Your answer did help some, thank you!
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965215_tn?1274958773
Your welcome.  I am having problems with my ulnar bone.  It feels like it is hitting my bones. Not sure if I have a variance but it hurts all the way to my elbow. I had no elbow injury though.  Anyways I hope all is well with you. Let us know how everything turned out.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had the TFCC repair and ulna shortening surgery on 7/31/09. I didn't get the nerve blocker shot to deaden the arm, but was put under anestesia. I had alot of pain the first week or so and found it very hard to sleep. I'm a belly sleeper and they prefer you sleep on you back to keep your hand elevated to avoid swelling.( I was popping the percosett.) You are in a full splint/cast for approx. 2 weeks, then they fix you with a forearm brace for another month before therapy starts. I started therapy about a week ago and still not pull up my pants on my left side or grip anything over a couple of pounds. What concerns me the most is my loss of range of motion so far, particularly the supination of my forearm. I can't rotate my palm upward with my arm by my side.I find it hard to even open up a newspaper to read as you hold it in front of you. I've been out of work since then. I would say depending upon your line of work you have to allow at least 3 months for therapy and recuperation. Good Luck, Ed B.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have been off work for 1 year with a sharp pain in my wrist that ended up being a tfcc tear in my wrist ulnar side. i just had surgery that fixed the tear and cleaned out with steroid shot... i was told 2 weeks after i would notice considerable difference in my right hand and no pain or very small amount anyway 4 weeks gone by i hardley sleep a wink, my hand is that paintfull i feel like i have cramp ten fold. i am sick and tierd of this i am topping being off work for nearly 1 1/2 years and work are getting touchie but without my hands i cannot work on checkouts in a busy supermarket... also i have doubts that this will ever go away! which mentally has upset me because before all this happend i was a established fine art student and was doing a degree and was almost close to selling a few of my paintings but now i cannot paint because the pain in my right wrist is immense. i want to know after the keyhole surgery i herd you can have something else done i want some information if possible please rachxxx
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Avatar_f_tn
i had a fall two years ago. i had four surgeries since then. first i was casted for 6 weeks due to edema. i then was told i needed tfcc repair and the tendon in my wrist needed repair from dislocation. then i had the tendon in my elbow repaired. again i was casted for 6 weeks. i did therapy for 3 months with pain daily thinking it was normal. i could not fully open or extend my arm. i had the constant feeling of wrist popping, clicking and elbow felt like i hit my funny bone all day. after 10 months i was told my ulna nerve was severely compressed. i then had ulna nerve transposition surgery. i endured grueling pain my arm could not touch my clothing or any surfaces and was not useable. i was sent to a neurosurgeon pain management who did and emg and told me my nerve was still compressed i was put on 3 months of neurontin and pain med only to have an ulna nerve revision surgery intramuscular. i again was casted several more times. i since started therapy only to find on doing hand glides a bone is protruding the top of my wrist the pain feels like someone has hammered a nail in my wrist i have complete loss of feeling in my 4th and 5th digits the back of my arm and by my armpit. i had another mri only to be told my tfcc needs repair as it was only debrided with bone shaving and the inside of the tfcc removed. i am at a loss in pain and i do not know if this is possible my forearm on top also has pain with wrist movement. i hope someone can give me some advice. i have not functioned for two years i am 41. i just want to be better . thanks d.d.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had ulnar shortening with tfcc tear surgery on sept 13,2010. I didn't expect to be in so much pain. I have been in a cast for 4 weeks and any quick moves will leave you in tears. Its very painful to get dressed and you can forget about combing your hair. Sometimes I wake up screaming with excrutiating pain that last for a short peroid of time. I can not hold my hand to my side so I hold it up to my chest and this causes your arm to get stiff and that only adds to the pain. This is a works comp injury so of course my doctor is pushing my recovery a bit to fast. I'm due to start PT in a week and I'm so nervous because the pain is only going to get worse. Everyones body heal different so good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Wanted to check and see how you were doing now BLUE82. I also had ulnar shornteing and repair of TFCC on sept 7 2010. 3 weeks into therapy. Slowly getting motion back but painful.   How it going for you?
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm glad I found this site.  I'm waiting for the ortho's office to call me Monday with a date to do an ulna shortening and debridement on my left wrist. Like some of you I have large central tears of the tfcc's, ulnar deviation, etc of both wrists.   Although I've undergone several different surguries including spinal surgery, this one scares me for some reason.  Reading your comments at least reaasures me that my fears are well founded and not me blowing things out of proportion. I had a arthroscope with debridement and cyst removal done on the right last April but the pain is worse than ever.  I have to fight with workmans comp to do the shortening on the right but figured I'd see how the left works out first.  
DD--if you're still around I just want to let you know that I understand how you feel.  I hope you live in an area where you can seek out other opinions from neurosurgeons and ortho hand/wrist specialists.  I too have been off work a long time and have been dealing with all the repercussions.  Keep fighting the good fight.  If you're depressed as I am seek out help.  Medication and counseling is starting to help me--mentally at least.  Unless someone has experienced chronic pain and disability they cant really understand. Take care all.....Mare
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi-I am about to have TFCC surgery in 3 days.  My doc want to do the ulnar shortening and I am having serious doubts.  Does anyone know if the repair would be less painful and possibly successful if I do not have the ulnar surgery done but rather just scope and repair the ligament?
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a scope and debridement on r wrist last april--doc couldnt repair central tfcc tear, no pain relief,,,  in fact worse.  waiting for surgical date for ulna shortening.  the thought of it scares me but my wrists are of no use the way they are now.  if i had it to do over again i would still try the scope first.
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Avatar_m_tn
Broke right wrist Jan. 2009. Had 5 surgeries. Ulna shortening and Tfcc repair recently.  My fingers can't make a fist or hook fist, very limited on activities. Pain is intense and I don't sleep.  Doctor wants to do either a Proximal Row carpectomy or Wrist Arthroscopy which consists of a TFCC debridement (again) and Scaphounate Debridement & Pinning.  I understand I will be in a cast for 8 weeks.  Does anybody know about either or all of these.  Ready to be pain feel
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Avatar_n_tn
Trishh123, I had TFCC debridement and ulnar ligament repair 4 1/2 months ago and I'm still in a lot of pain. Actually it is worse. Rehab is very painful and leaves me sore for two days... Soreness is worse than the actual tear. Can I ask how you are doing in the recovery process? Thanks
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1808139_tn?1339030486
Hello Ed59, I think u r asking me how I am doing, I changed my user name, havent been on for a while.
You asked how I was, not good. I had the TFCC tear and ulna shorteing, with the plate put in my arm.
Surgery was in Jan 2011, I am still in constant pain, physical therapy and have a tens unit. The tens unit actually helps the pain but does not take the pain away. My Dr says it can take a year or longer to heal.
My arm and wrist are stiff like a board every morning when I get up.
I have pain and swelling all the time, and my hand does not work well, I drop things all the time. I have also came to realize that ortho docs have no idea about the pain for this procedure. They want u off of pain meds to soon, and my pain as never been under control. I hope this helps anyone out there going through the same thing. BTW, I was terminated from my job, so now I have no disability insurance or check. It goes on and on.. I agree with the other person who posted unless you deal with disability and chronic pain, you have no idea what it is like.
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Avatar_f_tn
I, too had Ulna Shortened and TFCC Repair on August 16th 2011.......OMG< BEWARE....The Pain is Crazy.  I was in  big bulky splint and bandage for the first 10 days, then was put in a full arm cast for 4 weeks.  I just had my cast and pins removed 2 days ago. I am now in a full arm splint that I can take off.   I was starting to feel ok in the cast, but now that my arm is able to move more freely, It hurts really really bad.  I start PT tomorrow.  ;-(
I hope the rest of you are well beyound all this pain by now.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had an ulna shortening two weeks ago - there was very little pain and although I'm not yet allowed to grip anything with any power or twist my wrist it is already better - bending the wrist is painful but nothing like before my surgery. Was in a short plaster cast for five days then a thermoplastic splint which I have for the next 4-6 weeks. My surgeon is the best in London so perhaps I'm lucky but if you are considering having this done my advice is to go for it before your wrist joint is too badly damaged.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a tfcc injury 23 years ago, in basic traing, that I finally had repaired in January 2011! Instead of repairing the tear, they build up a lot of scar tissue that supposedly is supposed to fix the tear. Also, I had ulna head shortening, which I still don understand why they cut most of my wrist bone off! I have this deformed looking indention, where my wrist bone use to be! My hand is still numb half way up my arm, my pinky is contracted and I have had trigger finger in my index finger, which they injected with a cortisone shot. My grip is horrible, still dropping stuff! Go to OT once a week and see my surgeon every 6 weeks, until we can get a handle on this! I am so sick of this! Was told before the surge that it would be 8 weeks recovery! I am a new born baby nurse, and I cannot get hired like this! Still painful! Wakes me up at night, with knawing pain!
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1808139_tn?1339030486
Hello
I sent you a message, hope you are still on here. I also posted pics, and info regarding my unlna shortening and TFCC repair. Still in horrible pain, can't crasp things, drop things all the time, can't sleep, and the nurse practioner, won't listen to me about my pain. I told her today that I cannot stand the pads from my tens unit on my arm, she said to take over the counter tylenol, ice and heat (which I told her I can't stand anything to touch my arm, hand wrist. I honestley aim at a loss, help anyone please. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Thank you so much
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Avatar_f_tn
I just had my ulna shortened about 3 weeks ago and i have a lot of swelling amd pain cannot do a fist or even do up buttons on my jeans start
Psyio on thursday does this help and will i get movement in my hand again
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Avatar_m_tn
I had the ulnar shortening procedure back in 2004 after incurring an injury in 2000 followed by two debridement arthroscopic procedures. Although I have close to 100% use of my hand, fingers and wrist, even now 8 years later I have excrutiating pain that radiates along the ulnar nerve all the way to the shoulder and neck.   I also experience a lot of swelling of the ulnar dome which literally lifts up out of place and then pops back into place once I massage the area.  Orthopedic doctor keeps wanting to do conservative management with cortisone injections.   If I had it all to do over again, I don't believe I would have the ulnar shortening procedure. The pain I've experienced post surgery has been chronic at best, with very frequent acute episodes of excrutiating pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
My hand is still a no go zone psycio does not seem to help how long before i get full use of hand can someone help me please
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Avatar_f_tn
I have just been told that I need this surgery also. After reading the above I really am petrified. I am a bookbinder making fine leather books by hand. My right wrist has a constant dull ache and every now and again when I have to put pressure on my fingers & thumb my wrist gets a snap of sudden excruciating pain making my work more and more difficult. I have been scouring the net trying to find alternatives to surgery to no avail. The doctors say the longer it is left the less successful outcome for surgery.
I have the added complication of having no lymph nodes in that arm (due to breast cancer 9 years ago) so I am also worried about the risks of lymphodema.
Agh what a decision.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a suspected tear to my tfcc and looking into possible surgons to try and be reffered to after 2 misdiagnoses. Would it be possible for you to let me know the name of your surgone. Thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
I had my tfcc repair and ulnar head shortening jan 2011, still hurts a lot at the site were my wrist bone was cut. They gave me two cortisone injections and the last one ate away my skin, it was paper thin, I had to have surgery last may to have fat put into that area to plump it back up, 5% chance of working, worked! But, this is my right wrist and my right palm is smaller than my left and I still drop things and my grip is still not that great! Also, my right pinky is contracted, I feel as if the scar tissue is pulling my pinky. But, they don't want to mess with my wrist anymore.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

Just thought I give a good news update which seem lacking on these forums. A year and half on from ulna shortening surgery I now have a wrist that it almost like a normal person. My cuboid ligaments were torn class III but TFC was intact just needed flattening and smoothing as it had rucked up inside the joint - tears are really difficult to diagnose on MRI scans so arthroscopy is only way, which also enabled them to sort the TFC at the same time as the shortening.

Also had to have the plate removed after six months as tendon was sticking to it and had to be debrided so not all plain sailing, but again not as traumatic as it sounds.

The physio was hard. Especially learning how to bend the wrist forward and backwards - took 7 long months of one/two sessions a week and exercises at home but well worth it for the outcome.

If anyone is considering this operation I'd definitely recommend it if you are willing to commit to the intense physio.

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Avatar_m_tn
i had my done a little more then a year ago,still a fair amount of pain. i had a lot of laps in therapy do to workers comp so there were week between ,were i had no therapy. I also have pain in my elbow had x-rays they say everything looks good.i can't lift much with it either.
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Avatar_f_tn
Omg, reading all of these posts is going to make me cry. I am a senior in high school and I play lacrosse. 3 years ago I had my tfcc repaired but my surgeon decided not to do the ulnar shortening. I had relief of the pain for about 2 years and now it is slowly but progressively getting worse. I have what they call Ulnar Compression Syndrome and with constant lacrosse playing and constant rotations of my wrist I have the same pain that I had when I first tore my tfcc.

I have an appointment with my surgeon in two weeks and I am too nervous hearing all of these trauma stories that he is going to tell me I will need the Ulnar shortening and tfcc repair. My wish is to play lacrosse in college but it worries me after reading all of these that my chance of that might be ruined after surgery.. what do I do!?
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6553254_tn?1382372480
I had a tfcc repair and a ulnar shortning done 12 weeks ago my PT is done and the doc says thats fine and my wrist is fine....the last app i had with doc she said she thinks the tfcc is torn again, there is no bone growth at all from where they cut my bone and the carpool bone they screwed back in place has seperated again. How can that be normal? i have burning all down the pinky side of my hand my pinky wont go straight at all and i cant hold it next to my other fingers. It burns just to touch the skin on the pinky wrist and arm. My ROM is shot i can maybe bend my wrist like 10 degrees cant brush my own hair dressing myself is hard to do i cant even pick up anything heavier then my cell phone and a pack of smokes. If i had to do this over again i think i would have skipped surgery and delt with the flair ups. I cry myself to sleep almost everynight and just to sleep i have to eat a handfull of tyolanol and take a few sleep aids and im still up and down thur the night in pain.
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Avatar_m_tn
My doctor just did the TFCC repaire and after about 4 months after surgery, i am going back in for surgery to have my ulna bone shortened. He thought because i was young my wrist would heal but it didnt and re tore from simple activity and PT. go for the bone shortening. I wish i would have done it
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Avatar_f_tn
My son broke his shoulder several years ago.  The shoulder he broke has not grown at the same rate as his other arm.  He is now going into his senior year of highschool and wants to get his arm shortened to match the other one.  We saw a doctor last year to check on lengthening the shorter arm and they said that was a hard surgery.  Has anyone had their arm shortenend and how did that go?

pmacsmom
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Avatar_m_tn
I sustained a wrist injury in a martial arts training class.  My partner grabbed my wrist and twisted it hard.  Now, I can move my wrist through the whole range of motions without pain.  Only when I apply force using my forearm in a horizontal motion and relaxing my wrist, I feel weakness in my ulna/wrist area.  Feel like the ulna is going to "come out".  But if I tighten my grip and tensed the whole forearm, there is no problem.  X-ray revealed no fracture.  My orthopaedist suspect TFCC tear and asked me wear a wrist brace and come back in three weeks' time.  If in three weeks' time, there is still weakness, then I'll have to do MRI to determine any other causes.  Anyone has experienced these symptoms before and any diagnosis and treatment?  Thanks.
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