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UCL injury

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I just injured my left hand August 12th, I saw a hand surgeon the 16th and was told I have a torn UCL.  I have been in a splint since the injury and would need surgery.  I really do not want to go through surgery....is there anything else that can be done and still give me the correct outcome?  I am a Dental Hygienist and use my hands everyday....since this accident I have not been working.  Can I work with a brace on or do I have to just wait and wear the splint until this injury heals?

 

So distressed over this.

 

post #2 of 8

I would recommend gettting at least one other opinion, and preferably two.  UCL recovery seems to be an art rather than a science.  You work with your hands, and need to make the most educated choice you can, and there are many courses of treatment to be weighed.

 

Depending on the severity of the tear (and doctor's preference/experience), either surgery or immobilizaton for a specifc timeframe - or both - could be the best route.  Be aware that whichever you chose, your thumb may never be 100 percent normal shape, due to calcium deposits, etc., but most I have known, including myself, have returned to full functionality.

 

BTW, this injury is also known as Gamekeeper's Thumb; do some research under that heading as well.

 

Good luck, and speedy recovery.

 

 


Edited by NE1 - 8/22/11 at 3:16pm
post #3 of 8

Make sure you have an MRI and that it is read by someone who knows what they are doing. UCL tears in the thumb come in varying degrees of severity. There is a specific type of UCL injury, known as a Stener lesion, that requires surgical treatment. It isn't possible to know if this is present from an x-ray or simple physical exam. In this type of UCL tear, the ligament is completely torn from its insertion and basically flips under nearby tendons, which block it from returning to the original attachment site. A Stener lesion will not heal by itself.

post #4 of 8



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

Make sure you have an MRI and that it is read by someone who knows what they are doing. UCL tears in the thumb come in varying degrees of severity. There is a specific type of UCL injury, known as a Stener lesion, that requires surgical treatment. It isn't possible to know if this is present from an x-ray or simple physical exam. In this type of UCL tear, the ligament is completely torn from its insertion and basically flips under nearby tendons, which block it from returning to the original attachment site. A Stener lesion will not heal by itself.


I certainly can see that if the ligament is not in place, it will not heal.  Can you elaborate a bit on the MRI, and how it could show something an x-ray could not?  Is it because it is sort of three dimensional? 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply....I have looked up UCL injury and gamekeepers thumb, looks like it was first given a name in 1955.  I did get another doctors opinion and he thought I needed surgery also, but no MRI just an x-ray to check for any broken bones.  I don't like the idea of possible 3 months of recovery.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

My MD did not recommend an MRI.....and I wonder why.....???

post #7 of 8

If you saw a hand surgeon and surgery was recommended, then it is possible that the surgeon felt that the findings on your exam, combined with any x-ray findings, mandated surgery, and that MRI wasn't necessary because your injury was severe enough to warrant intervention rather than conservative therapy. There are injuries that need surgery that are not necessarily Stener lesions. It's more that Stener lesions require surgery. My post wasn't necessarily to question your diagnosis or the recommendations of your doc. It was more to respond to your worry about having the surgery and to make sure that you were aware that there are certain UCL tears that simply won't heal by themselves. Having said that, you can certainly express your worry about surgery to your doctor, and ask if you should have an MRI to make sure you need it. Just make sure that the answer isn't that you don't need an MRI because it's a pain in the butt to get it approved!

post #8 of 8

As a Hand Surgeon, I can tell you that you can tell if there is a Stener lesion just by feeling the thumb.  An MRI is a waste of money when dealing with this injury.  Stable in Extension, no fix.  Unstable in extension, FIX.  Simple. 

 

 

Get if fixed and move on with your life.....also nothing is ever the same after you have had surgery.

Nthing works a 100%.

 

BT

 

 

 

 

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