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WRHS: Surgeon performs first total wrist replacement in Arkansas with new prosthesis

Gary Paxson, president & CEO of White River Health System (WRHS), has announced the first total wrist replacement at Stone County Medical Center (SCMC). This is also the first total wrist replacement surgery using the latest state-of-the-art prosthesis performed in Arkansas, according to a release from WRHS. The surgery was performed by Dr. Charles D. Varela, orthopaedic surgeon at White River Orthopaedic Sports and Hand Surgery Clinic in Mountain View. 

Total wrist replacement surgery, also known as total wrist arthroplasty, is used to treat patients with unbearable pain and disability due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The procedure involves replacing the wrist joint with an artificial joint to relieve pain and restore function and is used when other treatment options are no longer effective. Total wrist replacements in the past have been fraught with complications and failures due to the unique characteristics of the wrist joint anatomy. This new prosthesis has shown potential to significantly reduce the patient’s pain and preserve motion while reducing complications. This is a major advancement in the area of hand surgery, WRHS said in the release.  

Varela is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with added certification in surgery of the hand. His areas of expertise include hand surgery, knee injuries, joint replacement, trauma surgery, and foot surgery. Varela has been in practice in Mountain View as an orthopaedic and hand surgeon for more than 25 years serving north central Arkansas.

Varela received his Medical Degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Missouri. He completed a fellowship in Hand, Microsurgery, and Upper Extremity Surgery from Duke University Medical Center. 

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