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Do I need an osteotomy?

Q: I broke my left wrist six months back. The bone was set and screws placed in my thumb and down my arm for 8 weeks. Now, 7 months later, I still have regular pain and incomplete range of motion. My surgeon has referred me to another surgeon to look into the possibility of an osteotomy. What is this, and what can I expect?

A:Osteotomy (cutting a piece of bone) is a procedure in which a surgeon removes a wedge of bone near a damaged joint. Corrective osteotomy is a treatment for malunited articular fractures of the distal part of the radius or extraphyseal distal radius fractures that result in clinically significant pain and functional impairment because of palmar instability of the distal ulna. The decision is often based on age, degree of deformity, limitation of function, pain, and appearance of the wrist. The procedure gives satisfactory results if there are no degenerative changes in the radiocarpal or intercarpal joints and when the preoperative range of motion of the wrist is adequate.

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