Thumb arthroplasty is prescribed in individuals suffering from advanced basilar thumb arthritis. The aim of the procedure is to reduce the pain in the thumb and to improve its functioning. Activities like pinching or grabbing can cause severe pain in the patient’s thumb.
During the procedure, the joint is removed and reconstructed using a tendon. The patient will be given general anesthesia along with an auxiliary block. The block will be discussed with the patient by the anesthesiologist.
The patient will experience no pain when he wakes up from surgery. The effect of the anesthesia will continue to last for several hours after the surgery. For the surgery, an incision is made along the border of the thumb. The entire bone in the joint is taken out, and a tendon graft is used to replace it. One or two incisions are made in the forearm to obtain the tendons. The tendon so obtained is redundant, and its absence will not be noticed. The thumb is stabilized using pins which will be removed in 4 weeks.
Normally, the procedure provides relief for most people. After recovery, the pain is completely gone, and your range of motion will be normal.
In most cases, once you have recovered, the pain will be gone, and you will have relatively normal motion. However, pinch strength may not improve. Any surgery comes with risks, and as far as thumb arthroplasty is concerned, the risks might involve an infection after the surgery, numbness on the top of the thumb, and stiffness.