Carleen's Hand Reconstruction Surgery Story

Oct 1, 2019
Carleen F., a Murietta resident, has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis from head to toe since she was 18. Most painful was her left wrist, with which she had little to no mobility for much of the past 30 years. Shortly after moving from her native Boston to Southern California for the weather in an attempt to help her condition, she met Michael Rubinstein, MD, who has performed two hand reconstruction surgeries on Carleen in the past decade.

The first surgery was in 2006, and the most recent was in November 2015. Both were performed at Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia. In the first surgery, Carleen had a total wrist replacement, using hardware to replace her deteriorating bone. Part of the hardware began leaking and it had to be replaced.

“It was just natural deterioration; typically, the hardware at that time was not expected to last a decade,” says Dr. Rubinstein. “Dramatic advances have been made in recent years in treating patients with congenital defects, degenerative disorders, and injuries of the hand. In Carleen’s case we replaced the hardware with human cadaver bone, which should be a more permanent solution.”

Was the latest surgery successful and effective? Carleen answers that with resounding affirmation.

“It’s been unbelievable,” she says. “My wrist is pain-free and my movement is good. I’ve been told it takes almost a year to have full mobility, but the improvement has been fantastic.”

Dr. Rubinstein agrees with that timeline, and says that the surgery is simply the foundation for a complete recovery. He adds that occupational therapy under the direction of a trained hand therapist is necessary as well.

All told, Carleen spent two days in the hospital and is effusive in her praise for the staff at Placentia-Linda, as well as for Dr. Rubinstein.

“Placentia-Linda is a great hospital,” says Carleen. “For both of my surgeries I couldn’t have been more impressed with the attentiveness and professionalism of the nurses and everyone I interacted with during my stays. And, of course, there’s Dr. Rubinstein. He’s a great surgeon who has been able to get the results I have hoped for.”

Because of physicians such as Dr. Rubinstein, Placentia-Linda Hospital is earning a reputation as one of the premier facilities in the Southland for reconstructive hand surgery. Designed to relieve pain and/or restore hand functions, the surgery is often performed to alleviate conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.