Synergy Health Partners

What is CMC Arthroplasty?

CMC Arthroplasty, also known as thumb basal joint reconstruction, is a surgical procedure aimed at treating thumb arthritis (also known as basal joint arthritis) by removing the damaged joint surfaces and reconstructing the joint with a graft or implant. This procedure helps alleviate pain, improve thumb function, and restore hand strength.

Why Might You Need CMC Arthroplasty?

CMC Arthroplasty may be recommended if you experience:

  • Thumb Pain: Persistent pain at the base of the thumb, particularly with gripping or pinching.
  • Decreased Range of Motion: Difficulty moving the thumb, especially when performing activities requiring fine motor skills.
  • Thumb Instability: Thumb weakness or instability, making it challenging to hold objects securely.
  • Worsening Symptoms: Symptoms that worsen over time or do not improve with non-surgical treatments such as splinting or medication.

What Are the Steps in a CMC Arthroplasty Procedure?

Preoperative Preparation
  • Medical Evaluation: Comprehensive review of your medical history, symptoms, and previous treatments.
  • Diagnostic Assessment: Physical examination and possibly imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis and plan the procedure.
  • Informed Consent: Detailed discussion of the procedure, potential benefits, and risks.
During the Procedure
  1. Patient Positioning: You will be comfortably positioned to allow easy access to the thumb base.
  2. Anesthesia: Local or general anesthesia is administered to ensure you are comfortable during the procedure.
  3. Incision: A small incision is made at the base of the thumb to access the joint.
  4. Joint Resection: The damaged joint surfaces are removed, and any bone spurs are addressed.
  5. Reconstruction: The joint may be reconstructed using a tendon graft, a portion of a nearby tendon, or an implant.
  6. Closure: The incision is closed with sutures, and a sterile dressing is applied.
Postoperative Care
  • Observation: Brief period of monitoring after the procedure to ensure there are no immediate complications.
  • Activity Guidelines: Instructions on caring for the incision and guidelines for gradually resuming normal activities.
  • Hand Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises and hand therapy may be prescribed to improve thumb strength and function.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Postoperative Care
  • Immediate Effects: Some relief from thumb pain and improved thumb function may be noticeable shortly after the procedure.
  • Pain Management: Medications and techniques for managing postoperative pain and swelling.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: Scheduled to monitor healing, remove sutures, and assess hand function.

Potential Complications

While CMC Arthroplasty is generally safe, potential complications can include:

  • Infection: Risk of infection at the incision site or within the joint.
  • Nerve Damage: Rare but possible risk of temporary or permanent nerve damage.
  • Implant Issues: Complications related to the use of implants, such as loosening or dislocation.

Benefits of CMC Arthroplasty in
Hand & Upper Extremity Management

  • Pain Relief: Reduction in thumb pain and improved hand function.
  • Improved Thumb Function: Enhanced ability to perform activities requiring thumb movement.
  • Stabilization: Restoration of thumb stability for better grip and pinch strength.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Improved overall well-being and ability to engage in daily activities without thumb discomfort.

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