Hand / Finger Joint Replacements
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common sources of arthritis to the hands. As arthritic changes progress, pain, swelling and loss of mobility and function can become a problem for many. Deformity begins to set in leading to crooked appearing fingers.
Treatments usually include medications, activity modification, corticosteroid injections and splinting. If non-surgical treatments fail to manage the symptoms to an adequate degree, surgery may be recommended by an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery.
There are different surgical options available in most cases including hand or finger joint replacements. This type of surgery involves making an incision overlying the affected joint(s) and removing the damaged joint surface. The edges of the bones that make up the joints are resurfaced and a prosthesis is placed. Prosthesis can be made from metal, plastic, carbon-fiber, or ceramics. The joint is supported by tendons and ligaments. This type of surgery can be performed for the joints of the fingers and at the base of the thumb.
These type of implants may not be indicated for younger patients as the joints may loosen or wear out over time resulting from higher demand activities.
Complications from this type of surgery can occur. Some of the potential risks include infection, nerve and blood vessel injuries, and prosthesis failure. There are also specific risks associated with anesthesia.
Following surgery, the hand will be splinted for up to a few weeks to allow healing to take place. Physical or occupational therapy may also be indicated to promote motion and to regain function.