ZocdocAnswersCan I have a titanium plate put in my hand after an infection?

Question

Can I have a titanium plate put in my hand after an infection?

I feel into a electrical panel at work and had forth deg burn to my wrist. After 19 surgeries I had a free flap taken from my back and put on my wrist witch was successful. But I got an infection from dead bone. My hand was left open for a couple months before the free flap and a nurse came over everyday and washed it with dawn soap and water. After the flap surgery it got infected. The removed a few dead bones from my wrist and my thumb bone then a pic line and a couple months of antibiotics. It's been a couple months now with no infection. I want to have a plate put in to fuse my wrist together because it just flops around. But my workmans comp case worker tells me they can't put any foran object in after an infection. Is that true? They just want to cut my hand off

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your long struggle with this injury. It sounds like this has had a significant impact on your life. Is it critical to review your records in person and perform a thorough medical history and physical exam before making a final recommendation. I strongly encourage you to consult both an infectious disease specialist who specifically specializes in bone infections as well as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in wrists. You may need to travel to an academic medical center, often affiliated with a medical school, to find these specialists. Regardless, the recommendation should be made by a physician specializing in these issues, not a case worker. Infections after surgery are unfortunately not terribly uncommon, especially in situations where multiple surgeries are required. Once the infection travels to the bone, it can be extremely difficult to clear. The bone itself often must be removed, and patients require a long course of antibiotics, which is what it sounds like happened with you. There is always a concern that the infection has not fully cleared and may return. This can be especially problematic if a foreign body, such as a metal plate, is in the area. However, there are strategies available to help reduce the risk of recurrent infection. I encourage you to discuss the available options with specialists from both infectious disease and orthopedic surgery.

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