Thumb Arthroplasty is surgery to replace part or the entire joint at the base of your thumb. Thumb Arthroplasty is a procedure that is performed on patients with advanced basilar thumb arthritis. The procedure is intended to alleviate pain in the thumb and improve function.
Preparation for Thumb Arthroplasty
Your health care provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medications to take or not take on the day of your surgery before surgery; you will need to obtain clearance from your regular doctor if you have medical problems. You may be required to obtain some basic tests for screening before the surgery. Basic blood tests, a chest x-ray, and an EKG may be required depending on your health.
Thumb Arthroplasty Surgery
General or regional anesthesia will be given to keep you free from pain during the surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision on the skin over your thumb joint. He will remove part or all of your wrist bone. He may also remove part of your thumb bone. He will reconstruct your joint using cartilage, a tendon taken from your forearm, or an artificial implant. Your surgeon will close your incision with stitches and cover it with bandages.
After surgery, you will be discharged home in a splint. This should not be removed. You will need to cover the splint with a plastic bag when showering. You should keep the hand elevated as much as possible the first few weeks. You can and should move your fingers. You will see your surgeon 14 days after surgery, in the office, where the stitches will be removed. You will then be placed into a thumb cast and will come back for cast and pin removal 3 weeks later. Once the pin is removed you will have a custom splint made for the thumb. You will also start hand therapy to work on regaining motion. Strengthening usually starts about 2 months after surgery and you will be done with therapy and splint about 3 months after surgery.
What are the risks of Thumb Arthroplasty
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur, some possible complications may include, but are not limited to the following:
You may have stiffness in your thumb after surgery. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. If you received an implant, the implant may get loose, break, or become unstable.