Thumb Replacement Surgery – An Overview
A thumb replacement surgery is a form of orthopedic implant procedure. This surgery requires the surgeon to replace a damaged (or disabled) thumb joint with an artificial implant device that is designed to mimic the functioning of a natural thumb joint so as to allow restoring the normal use of the thumb.
The main joint in the thumb is the base (basilar) joint, which is also known as CMC (carpometacarpal) joint. This joint is very essential to provide movement and stability to the entire thumb. After years of use, or due to a bone disorder or even an injury, this CMC joint tends to get worn out. The wearing out of the joint components (bones and cartilage, etc) causes disability and pain in the affected joint.
This wearing out of the CMC joint components is known as CMC arthritis or Basal Joint Arthritis.
How is it caused?
Arthritis normally develops over years however it can be accelerated in case of an injury or a fracture to the bones of the joint. The joint bones can also be affected as a result of the natural aging process as well.
This condition is mostly found in women above the age of 40 years while it is less common in men.
What are the Symptoms?
The main indication towards a damaged basal joint is swelling and occasional warmth around the thumb. The area tends to get tender to the touch and is painful when pinched or grasped strongly.
This disorder will make it difficult to use the thumb for even normal everyday activities such as turning a door knob or opening jar lids as well as car doors. Basically, every movement that puts even a significant amount of pressure on the thumb can cause intense pain and discomfort.
What is Thumb Replacement Surgery?
A thumb replacement surgery aims to restore the loss of movement in the thumb as well as provide relief from the intense pain and discomfort that it might be causing.
There are several methods of surgical treatment for CMC arthritis. The thumb replacement surgery is one of the most ideal methods for treating severe arthritis of the thumb.
This requires general anesthesia to the patient (the surgeon may opt for local anesthesia as well) for preventing pain or discomfort during the surgical procedure.
The surgeon us required to make an incision along the forearm and involving the base of the affected thumb. The surgeon will then steadily remove the damaged pieces from the joint bones of the thumb, including the wrist bone (trapezium). The space created by the removal of the trapezium bone is usually filled with tendons and can be used to suspend and stabilize the base so that the thumb can regain the lost strength.
The removed joint bones are replaced with artificial implants that mimic the natural movement and function of the base joint of the thumb.
The surgeon will check the movement of the artificial implant to ensure that it is in perfect working condition after the implant has been performed. Then the wrist and the forearm are immobilized using a strong splint to protect the thumb and also to prevent movement for a few days till the wounds are healed.
How is the recovery after Thumb Replacement Surgery?
The patient is usually allowed to go home the same day once the effects of anesthesia wears off as the thumb replacement surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure.
The doctor will likely replace the rigid splint with a removable custom-made splint (or cast) for around 1-2 weeks post-surgery and is usually to be worn for around 1 month.
Physical therapy may also be recommended to restore strength and movement back in the affected thumb.
Connect with Travcure for Efficient and Budget-friendly Thumb Replacement Surgery in India
Travcure is known as the leader in providing excellent and affordable medical tours for thousands of foreign patients in India every year. Travcure is well-connected to the vast network of global-class orthopedic-specialty hospitals and clinics that are spread across all major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. These hospitals and clinics are equipped with the most innovative and modern medical and surgical equipments besides being managed by the country’s most-experienced medical professionals and specialists. Travcure promises to offer the most efficient, hassle-free and affordable Thumb Replacement Surgery in India.
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