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I started this blog because I needed a proximal row carpectomy and I could not find any further information other than how the operation is performed and statistical results of the operation. I had many questions that were left unanswered. For example, how much pain will I have during the operation, after the operation and how long will it take to heal? When could I start using my hand and more importantly my fingers? Would I be able to ride my motorcycle again? And if yes how soon?

I searched blogs, Bing and Google and could not find any answers to these questions. Of course I could find out what was involved in the operation and during operation including all those gory videos intended for surgeons and horror movie fans. So I decided to start a blog to log events and I urge anyone else who has had a proximal row carpectomy to add their comments or ask their questions to this blog so that it may help others. Additionally please share your experiences as well!

There may be some grammar errors since I’m using Dragon Naturally Speaking software to dictate the entries rather than typing. I hope to catch most of them.

278 Comments
  1. Gina Leffert Paige permalink

    I am 1 weeks post PRC and have 30 degrees movement and meet all ther goals in therapy. 65 degrees is my goal and I hope to meet that soon. But my wrist is pain free. I am 47 yrs old.

  2. Shawn permalink

    I’m 48 and had injuries to both hands several years ago. Had multiple reconstructive surgeries on both. Finally went for the proximal row carpectomy on my left hand two years ago. Range of motion sucked because I didn’t have much cartilage left. I maxed at 20 degrees and had constant pain for a year. This past year the pain has decreased but still very weak. I don’t even attempt to open a door using my left hand. Using a computer is ok and carrying light bags is ok as long as the wrist is straight down towards the ground. However going to finally fuse the left wrist probably this year. Going to shoot for a joint replacement of my right wrist in about a year. Been consulting with the two primary surgeons in the US who regularly perform this procedure.

  3. Thats brilliant wish it was me well just have to keep at it well done

  4. Thats bad shit man sorry to hear that

  5. Megan Dalton permalink

    I am 32 years old and was diagnosed with Keinbock’s disease about a year and a half ago after experiencing pain for over three years. I would have had the PRC done sooner but I was pregnant. I just had this done yesterday and was given a nerve block for the pain. 15 hours later, I am starting to regain feeling, and it is extremely painful. I normally have a very high pain tolerance and will rarely ever take medications for pain, but this definitely requires it. I assume that the severe pain will hopefully go away within a few days but any advice is appreciated. I have a five-month-old and 23-month-old at home that I was expecting to take care of while I am off of work. As I’m laying here I am wondering how in the world I am going to change diapers and take care of babies when my hand/arm hurts this badly. I am now wondering if I should send them to the sitter for a few days while my husband is at work. Does anyone know when I should be able to resume semi-normal functions using my hand and at least be able to pick up my babies and change their diapers?

    • CarolLynn permalink

      I just had the procedure on March 22,2017. I too can tolerate pain and this is horrible pain. My fingers are not swollen but the whole wrist is sore. I ham icing constantly and keep it elevated. No idea how you would take care of children…I can’t even turn the toothpaste cap!

      I am having this “popping” or clicking but I’m not sure what it is. It was frustrating there was not much info online. I go for my checkup in a few days…hoping it’s all normal.

  6. Stephen woodward permalink

    6 months i had it done and just getting right the worse opp ever the only thing good about this is i dont have any pain now but wrist isnt as strong and limited movement i know what you mean about the toothpaste my hand went the size of a elephants foot and black and blue hopeing to start back work next week on light duties and the lady with the children i feel sorry for you really do need help for the first 3 months hope you all get well x

  7. Lisa M permalink

    I had my PRC about 6 years ago, when i was 41. It was after a failed arterial bone graft (some call it a vascular bone graft). I thought the surgery was pretty easy compared to some other surgeries I’ve had. I did P.T./O.T. (never thought trying to pick up small beans could be so hard). I was very pleased with the outcome as far as ROM is concerned, couldn’t tell any bones were removed but on another note, I’ve had pain in that wrist often. Just an achy pain that never really goes away. I’m very happy with my PRC, as i can do everything and would rather deal with the inconvenience of a little pain rather than forfeiting ROM. Best wishes for everyone that needs a PRC!!

  8. Jennifer Tombow permalink

    . I am 41 years old had proximal row carpectomy surgery a week ago. I have 4 Kids and had a carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists at the same time 7 weeks ago had no pain at all from that.never expected this surgery to be so painful I can’t even believe the amount of pain I almost would rather go through childbirth. I had stage 4 vascular necrosis and had not been able to move my wrist for about six months I go to the doctor tomorrow for my post-op appointment praying all is healing the way it’s supposed to be.

  9. Gina Leffert Paige permalink

    I also had stage 4 avascular necrosis due to Kienbocks. My wrist was virtually frozen. I had a PRC, removal of my radial styloid and shortening of my radius. My ortho used a nerve block before my surgery, and I never had any pain. Now while my wrist get stiff, I am pain free and have recovered a large amount of movement. My surgery was 5 months ago now, and I developed dupuytrens contractures but I am so glad I had the surgery.

  10. Dillon Pyron permalink

    I’m 9 years post FOOSH (spent my entire vacation on Maui in bilateral casts). My wrists have hurt on and off for about five years but my right went downhill late last year. I finally went to see my orthopedist who gave me a steroid shot. Which lasted four weeks instead of four months.

    Upshot is the surgeon has said that I am the “textbook candidate”. Sixty (happy 61st birthday two days earlier) and the surfaces are still in good shape.

    My surgery is set for July 7. Update later.

  11. Bev permalink

    I’m a 70 yr old patient. I had surgery in January 2017. The first therapy I had was not from a hand therapist. A month ago I started therapy with a hand therapist but my middle finger is still swollen. This past week I used a personally made splint, but it is too big and keeps falling off. I can’t really see any change in the swelling. I know everyone heals at a different rate, but I would really like to see some improvement. I will say the pain now is different from the pain before the surgery. My range of motion has improved somewhat and if the swelling would go down, I’d be satisfied. My therapist doesn’t think it’s necessary to be in touch with my doctor but I’m not so sure about that.

  12. I am 52 yr old female, who was stage 5 Kienbochs Disease. Thought having surgery would be better than suffering with pain and loss of wrist use. I am 3 weeks post op, casted for 2 more weeks. I can move fingers well, but limited on uses. I am a administrative medical Receptionist, and my ortho approved me to return but with pain and medication I extended for another week., I can’t use my right hand for anything, dressing, hair ect.. . Although my co workers are afraid I am pushing myself.. I’m not really ready, with pain.. what is the out of work time frame for people that has had PRC? I have a high tolerance but this pain burns, aches, and travels around hand.. Any input would be helpful.. excuse Text it’s being done with lefty..

    • Debbie permalink

      Hi Melissa, I had my PRC 9 years ago and I too am good with pain. I have to say this was the longest pain I ever experienced. My surgery was due to an injury. I was off work for 8 weeks. It was rough going back even after that long time off. I was an accounting assistant and worked through it but couldn’t imagine going back any sooner. I had never taken off that long (with the exception of child birth) from work in the past so I was sure I could return sooner. Unfortunately I could do nothing with my right (dominant) hand so returning was not an option. We did not have a light duty policy so I had to return to full duty when I did return. I say listen to your body as you are the only one who knows if you’re ready. Some people heal quicker and I feel it took forever for me. And after 9 years I can say I am 90% of the time pain free! I know when I have overdone it but I just give it a rest and it’s back to normal. I did get a very wide mouse to use at work and used very fat pens. This helped me because I get pain when holding a normal size pen for any length of time. My PT recommended this. My employer purchased the mouse! This should be accommodated thru the ADA policy if you have any issues. I used coban tape and wrapped the tip (about an inch and a half) of the pen with many wraps until it was the thickness I liked. Pens were very comfortable to use and you also knew nobody would take it! Lol good luck with your re cooperating and return to work! This is coming from an extremely impatient person, it will improve but can take months for it to be pain free. It took me 15 months before I can say I was completely pain free.

      • Thanks so much for the great information, I certainly know to listen to my body, but I too push through pain.. I also wonder had I not have such a high tolerance I wouldn’t be a stage 5 when diagnosed.. I experience burning, prickly feeling on the back of my hand.. and the base of thumb dull throbbing aching pain on the outside wrist bone, yet still casted.. I find elevation and ice have been so helpful. That’s what my days consists of.. I will give it a try Monday, see how it goes.. thank for your support.. Melissa

    • Megan permalink

      I was off work for a full 8 weeks and I’m so glad I was! My physical therapy helped quite a bit too which probably helped with my return to work. I type a lot and was in quite a bit of pain once returning to work. I was taking a lot of ibuprofen when I returned to work and this went on for weeks. I had my surgery March 28th, so a little over 4 months post op and I have to admit that I still have a lot of pain some days. My doc gave me a steroid shot in the joint to help with the pain and some days I think it helped and other I don’t. My recommendations are if you can take more time from work then do so because you don’t realize how much typing used your wrist until you just have surgery on it! Good luck!

  13. Christina permalink

    I’m 26 and 7.5 months post surgery. I had the surgery due to Kienbocks decease and to help with the pain I dealt with for 11 years. My wrist has recently had an increase in pain. I am also 9 weeks pregnant and am wondering whether this might be the cause of the wrist pain. Has anybody gotten pregnant after having the procedure and noticed a difference in how your wrist was doing?

  14. Tami permalink

    Ok, I can honestly say I am freaking out a bit. I fell off a ladder and broke my wrist almost 2 years ago. I am still in pain, I had a surgery last Dec they had to cut off the new bon, re-break the old break and push it back down and put in 2 screws. Still in severe pain and have very limited movement if any. Now they are saying my only options are fuse, which I do not want to do because of work and personal reasons or PRC. But they are saying I will only be out of work for 5 days and that I should get rid of most of my pain and get movement back. I am almost thinking, after reading this, I suffer until I can’t anymore and just go with the fusion, hopefully in 10 15 years. I am not sure I want to do the PRC this kink of scares me.

    • Amber Applegate permalink

      Save yourself the pain and the mental stress. Get the fusion. You can go back in threads and read my horror stories and three surgeries. I suffered for two long painful years because I refused to have my hand fused, that was after the damn PRC! I finally couldn’t take the pain and as importantly the lack of strength to even lift my kayak up. I got the fusion and instant relief. I m a very active woman, I don’t even notice my hand is fused. My strength came back almost as soon as I got the fusion, absolutely no pain even right after surgery. I can lug my big hard shell kayak everywhere, shoot skeet, hike in the mountains. Get the fusion and be done with it. I do not recommend a PRC! Been there done that suffered mightily.

      • Corey pitman permalink

        So, after having the PRC , if it doesn’t help, you can get this “fusion” you speak of? I’m a week out of PRC surgery. Just wondering because all these stories are scaring me.

      • Amber Applegate permalink

        Corey, how the PRC affects your recovery or constant pain is how much cartilage and arthritis you currently have. I had a lot of arthritis and I had a great loss of cartilage. Had either of the first surgeons taken the time to explain this to me I would have had a better understanding of how the PRC was going to affect me and I would have taken the fusion. If you don’t have those conditions now you most likely will do fine with the PRC. However, age will also be factored in. Any surgery on the bones can render most folks as they age to get arthritis which causes loss of cartilage. If that happens then you might still need a fusion down the road. For now do your PT, keep a good positive attitude and enjoy your life. If a fusion is in your future just know it isn’t the end of your life or activities. Chronologically I would be considered an old bag. Mentally and physically I m still in my thirties. Eat healthy, stay active, keep your mind sharp. Life is good even with three hand surgeries and fifteen other surgeries as a result of my living on the edge ways. I ve just last week made plans to go paragliding off of world famous Woodrat Mountain next spring. Live life to the fullest, go for the gusto and never give up.

  15. I don’t regret the PRC. Just spent the whole day riding and plan to tomorrow as well before the snow starts.

  16. Kyle permalink

    Hi all. I haven’t had the time to read through everyone’s comments, but I would imagine there are some mixed reviews on the PRC. Wanted to throw an encouraging word in for anyone that is staring down the barrel of this surgery. I know when I was in that position, I was looking for any positive info I could find. I am 29 currently and about 1 year and 7 months post PRC. I have raced dirtbikes since I was 5 and still do. Prior to surgery, I suffered a complete lunate dislocation that went undiagnosed/misdiagnosed for 5 weeks. My lunate died, other bones shifted, lost much of my grip strength, was having numbness from the lunate jabbing into my median nerve, and the rest is history. My wrist is nowhere near perfect (pre-injury), and I would not try to convince someone that it will be; however, it is functional. Most definitely much better than the injured version I was dealing with before. Once I accepted that I wasn’t going to have the wrist I once had, and decided I wasn’t going to let that keep me from doing what I wanted to do, I have had pretty good luck with it. Movement is decent and strength in the wrist is good. My hand/grip still gets fatigued in long/rough races. My advice is, decide what you want to do, do the physical therapy, keep working on it, and do what you can. If you have a good surgeon, a PRC isn’t the end of activity by any means, but it will be an alteration that will take some hard work and determination to deal with, but you can do it! Here is a helmet cam video of an extreme off-road race I did 1 year and 3 months post-op. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSauSNu29EU

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