Thumb Arthroplasty

What is a thumb arthroplasty?

A thumb arthroplasty procedure is used to treat arthritis that affects the joint located at the base of the thumb. The carpometacarpal (CMC) joint of the thumb is formed at the base where the metacarpal bone and the trapezium bone meet. Cartilage allows the bones to glide smoothly while ligaments and muscles stabilize the joint. The procedure can help restore the function of the joint and improve mobility. Thumb arthritis commonly occurs with age when cartilage wears away or due to injury. Symptoms of thumb arthritis can include pain, swelling, stiffness, and a loss of strength and motion in the joint. Patients may find everyday tasks such as opening doors or jars more difficult with thumb arthritis. A thumb arthroplasty procedure is performed on patients that have advanced basilar thumb arthritis.

What is a thumb arthroplasty procedure like?

A thumb arthroplasty procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision on the back of the thumb to the wrist, exposing the CMC joint. The carpometacarpal joint will be exposed, and the surgeon will open the capsule. The trapezium bone will be either completely or partially removed, and the tendon near the thumb is used to stabilize the first metacarpal bone. This is done by rolling up the tendon and placing it where the trapezium bone once was or creating a tunnel ligament reconstruction. The surgeon will then close the incision with sutures. The thumb and wrist will be bandaged and put in a splint. The patient will be able to move their fingers and the tip of their thumb. The patient should elevate their hand in order to reduce pain and swelling and should also keep the area dry. The patient will need hand therapy in order to restore strength and mobility to the joint afterwards.

Do you have an injury that could benefit from this surgical technique? Contact the specialists at Mobility Bone & Joint Institute to learn more about treatment options.

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