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Scaphoid Fracture Fixation


The aim of surgery is to restore the normal anatomy of the scaphoid bone and to fix it solidly. This will minimise problems such as non-union or avascular necrosis or arthritis.


Surgery is recommended for:

  • Displaced fracture.
  • Fractures which do not heal with non-surgical treatment.
  • Fractures which are closer to the wrist (proximal pole).
  • Athletes and in anyone where earlier return to activities is desired (e.g.: manual labourers).


The surgery is under general anaesthesia and is performed as day only in hospital.

Surgery is most commonly performed through a small incision. Here, the bone fragments are lined up and fixed with a screw to form a solid unit. This will compress the fragments against each other to promote healing.

An x-ray is taken during the operation to ensure the bones are back in normal position and that screw is placed correctly.


  • Day surgery.
  • Start gentle wrist movement 0-2 weeks within surgery.
  • Drive at approximately 2 weeks.
  • Office / admin work at approximately 2 weeks.
  • Sports and manual labour can commence as early as 4-6 weeks in some cases.


Majority of patients get their full movement and strength back around 3 months from surgery and return to normal activities after surgery.

The risks of poor / slow healing are higher in smokers.

Risks and complications

These include:

  • Non-union. Approximately 5-10%. Higher in smokers.
  • Avascular Necrosis.
  • Infection <1%.
  • Stiffness.
  • Wrist Arthritis – If the fracture fails to heal properly.