Thumb carpal metacarpal (CMC) arthroplasty surgery w/wo tendon reconstruction

Posted , 6 users are following.

10 + years ago I had very painful arthritis in my left thumb CMC/trapezium joint. I had surgery which involved replacing the joint with tendon as the joint spaces. Recovery was long- splint and plaster cast for over a month, then physical therapy for a couple of months. The first month was painful.

Fast forward to today, 2017, and I had painful arthritis in my right thumb CMC joint. When I discussed surgery options with the orthopedist, he recommended doing a different intervention w the joint: using an suture anchor w fiberwire instead of my tendon as done on the left thumb.

I am 2 weeks post surgery and the difference is amazing. I was in a splint until yesterday when the sutures were removed. Now I have a small removable splint just covers the thumb joint and I only have to wear it if my thumb feels tired. I have at least 50% normal function/ strength in the thumb and minor pain which feels more like stiffness when doing the thumb exercises or daily life stuff. What a difference from the first surgery. They explained that because they didn't use my tendon, there was less to heal and the recovery time is reduced from months to weeks.

At two weeks post-surgery, I am out of a cast/ splint and able to type, play the piano and do many other tasks without significant impediments.

Most of the orthopedists in our area do the 'suture anchor' procedure now instead of the tendon replacement. Surgeon expertise w this method is obviously a factor to consider but I'm posting here because I have been reading about recent patient experiences w this surgery and wanted to share my experiences with anyone considering it.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Thank you for posting details of your surgery experience SWS, very informative and helpful.  May I ask which country you're located in?  I'm in the UK and our options are very limited by National Health Service cost availability.

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    • Posted

      Hi Loxie,

      I'm in California, USA. Seems the anchor suture procedure would be more cost effective w less downtime, little to no physical therapy and back to work quickly.

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  • Posted

    Sws, thank you for sharing your story. I would definitely consider having the surgery if I could find a doctor in my area who does the suture anchor procedure. I hope others read your post so they will know there are other options available. I had never heard of the procedure you had done until now. Again, thank you and good luck on the rest of your recovery.
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  • Posted

    Jeff Yao on Stanford.    I am in Las Vegas and am considering going there for my Cac surgery.   Thank you sws.  you guided me in the right direction.   

     

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  • Posted

    I don't know your area, but I am searching for a hand surgeon in the Cincinnati area who can perform the suture anchor like you had. I was looking for a procedure with less down time and less pain, this sounds like what I want. Can you share with me your doctor's info, maybe they can direct me to a hand surgeon close to cincinnati, ohio. Thanks.

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