Trapeziectomy. Recovery time? Successful surgery?

Posted , 3 users are following.

I've had basal thumb arthritis for many years and, so far, have had five steorid injections into my left hand, but only one into my right.  Both thumb joints are very painful at the moment and I'm due to see a hand surgeon tomorrow.   I'm hoping he will give me another injection into my right thumb, but think he may well want me to consider surgery for the left thumb.  

Can those who have had a trapeziectomy tell me what the average recovery time is, please?  I'm retired, so don't have to worry about work, but I'd like to have some idea how long I'm going to be one-handed, if I decide to go along with the surgery.  May I also ask if you feel it's been successful?  I knit and crochet, but now find I can do neither without a lot of pain, so I'm hoping that an operation will enable me to enjoy my hobbies again.


2 likes, 7 replies

7 Replies

  • Posted

    Cheetah, i had surgery three weeks ago and i am fighting this cast for all its worth. I don’t know yet if its been successful but when asked i tell them i will never had the right hand done.  Not because of the pain, but the inconvenience.  I have been using my hand more than i should so only time will tell if its successful.
    • Posted

      Hi Sonne.  I went ahead and had he op last year and recovered pretty well.  I was using my hand as well, the fingers that poked out of the top of the cast, and there were no bad effects later. The physio was very pleased at how quickly I recovered - I did do my exercises religiously.   I think I was unlucky in that my op was done by an older surgeon who had always put on a cast and did so for me.  I then had to go to A&E a few days later as it was so tight, I couldn't stand it.  The young surgeon I had seen initially didn't use a cast and just put on soft dressings and that's what I thought was going to happen, so the cast was a bit of a surprise.  However, a year later the only downside is that I have lost some of the strength in my thumb.  However, no pain at all, which is the reason I had it done in the first place.

      I hope you recover well and everything is good.  Take care.

  • Edited

    Chettah i don’t look at dates sorry.  How did you manage your cast without going insane?    It is actually depressing me
    • Edited

      The main thing was that I only had to wear it for two weeks.  When it was removed, to have the stitches out, I was supposed to have another cast put on.  But, when I said I was disappointed that I'd had to have a cast in the first place - and they knew that the younger surgeon in the department didn't use casts at all - they agreed that I could just have bandages and a splint to protect the wound and I began some exercises with the physio.  I can really understand how it is depressing you, I hated it too and it was only knowing that it would be two weeks that made it bearable.  I did learn that every surgeon in the country does things differently and it all depends on who you get.  The surgeon who did mine was semi-retired and so his procedure was the same procedure he had used throughout his career, where the patient is in a cast for six weeks.  The young surgeon, the one I thought was going to do it, obviously took the more modern approach.  Unfortunately, he went on holiday!  How dare he!

      When do you see somebody again?  You'll be having your stitches out won't you?  I would be quite honest as to how bad it's making you feel and ask if it can come off earlier.  Tell them it's depressing you and you've read how surgeons in other areas don't use casts at all.  Obviously, you still won't be able to use your hand normally, but the weight of the cast - which I hated - will be gone.  I found it  much easier to deal with dressings and a plastic splint on my hand, even though I had to be careful.  I touch type, and I'm sure exercising my fingers helped my recovery.

      I hope things work out for you.  Do let me know how you get on.  Send me a message if you like.

      All the best.  Take care.



    • Posted

      My stitches came out a week ago and they put on the second cast.  Thank you for words  they help
  • Posted


    I'm having Trapeziectomy next month, has anyone had it done with a regional anaesthetic

    • Posted


      Yes, I had both of my trapeziectomies done with a regional nerve block. The anaesthetist was brilliant and my arm was completely numb while they operated on it. I just lay back and thought happy thoughts! I hate general anaesthetics, so it worked really well for me as, afterwards, I was completely drug free and felt quite normal - apart from the numb arm! It took about 24 hours before all the feeling came back. I've had trapeziectomies on both thumb joints now and I'm so glad I made the decision to have them done. I was in a lot of pain before my last one and the x-ray showed the arthritis to be severe. Now, I have no pain, but do have some weakness in the thumbs. I hope it goes well for you. Be sure to do your physio exercises when you get to that point - so important and will help your recovery. Good luck.

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