Can I just add my slightly positive story? Sorry it's a bit long...
I have a scaphoid malunion as a result of not realising I'd broken it myself at the time - I was 18 and didn't think it could be broken as it wasn't painful enough (I also broke it when saving a football playing goalie, so not the sort of thing you'd expect to cause a break). Hence I never sought medical advice - I even tried to go canoeing that evening as it was my standard session, though gave up as it was too painful (though I was paddling again a week later!) 18 months or so later after it never really healing properly and keeping jarring it and making it worse (I played water polo and canoe polo and it was my throwing/catching hand) I fell off my bike and landed on that hand resulting in a lot of pain, so finally I went to see my GP. He didn't think it was broken, but referred me to A&E anyway. The doctor in A&E didn't think it was broken but sent me for an x-ray anyway. Much surprise when they got the x-ray back - having driven to the hospital I had to get the bus home as my wrist was in plaster. 2 weeks in plaster (I thought that was standard for a broken scaphoid - surprised to see much longer periods quoted) helped a lot to settle it down, though the doctors did appreciate it was an old injury which wasn't going to heal, so I was scheduled for surgery. In the meantime I got a wrist brace which I wore most of the time and had some physio, the combination of which actually got rid of most of my functional problems.
A few months (IIRC) later I went into hospital. Spent the night before surgery in the morning and got as far as having the wrist shaved ready for incision when the surgical consultant came on his pre-surgery round. A long discussion ensued, with his advice being that given the potential risks of the surgery (I got the impression he thought it was a very difficult job) and that it had settled down so well that he left it alone. The x-rays were now showing the growth of cartilage around the bone which was stabilising it. I was advised that I was likely to get arthritis by the time I was 30, but that was likely to be a risk even if I had the surgery, and overall my chances were better if I didn't have the surgery. I went home - unfortunately forgetting to tell my girlfriend who turned up at hospital later that day with some flowers - continued having physio, using a wrist brace and learning to do even more stuff left-handed (I now kayak left handed for example - though I'd started learning that before going in for surgery on the principle I'd be able to start paddling again sooner).
So roll on 23 years, and not having surgery is one of my best ever choices. Yes I do sometimes have a little pain, but usually I only notice if I think about it. Despite being in my 40s I still don't have arthritis. I do do a lot of stuff left-handed - apart from very fine control stuff like writing I'm effectively ambidextrous - though that's largely protective, as I can do most stuff right handed without problem. I do have limited mobility in my right wrist - instead of 90 degrees each way of my left I only have ~45 degrees each way - but that's really not a big issue. All in all it really doesn't significantly impact my life at all - I can't think of a single thing it prevents me doing. There is a good chance of a really positive outcome if you sort the rehabilitation right.