Hand function is inseparably linked to the condition of the thumb
carpometacarpal joint. Although fractures, ligament injuries, and rheumatologic
processes may damage this important articulation, basal joint arthroplasty is
most often performed to relieve pain and increase motion in joints damaged by
Thumb joint replacement may be considered for:
Impairment of the thumb basal joint with
localized CMC bony changes.
Localized pain and palpable crepitation
during circumduction movement with axial compression of the of involved thumb
Decreased motion, decreased pinch, and
decreased grip strength.
X-ray evidence of arthritic changes
isolated to the trapeziometacarpal joint.
The patient is placed supine on the operating table with the arm abducted 90
degrees over an arm table. A tourniquet is applied, and the patient's arm is
prepared and draped out in the usual sterile manner. Either block, axillary
block, or general anesthesia is preferred.
Post Operative Care
A thumb spica splint is worn continuously for 2 weeks. A removable thumb
spica splint is worn for 4 weeks and removed for skin care and bathing. At 6
weeks post op, more aggressive use of the hand is encouraged. Unrestricted
activity is allowed 8-12 weeks post-op. Hand therapy may be required to regain
motion and strength.
1Calandruccio, JH and
Jobe, MT, "Arthroplasty of the Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint",
Seminars in Arthroplasty, vol. 8, no. 2, 1997, pp. 135-47.