What Is a Thumb Basal Joint Arthroplasty?


Quick Answer

Thumb basal joint arthroplasty is a complete replacement of the thumb joint, which involves removing the existing thumb joint and inserting an implant, reports the Arthritis Foundation. Physicians typically recommend this procedure for older patients or those with advanced arthritis.

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A thumb basal joint arthroplasty is one of the less invasive surgeries for arthritis sufferers. The implants tend to be pyrocarbon or metal with cushioned spaces, which surgeons place between the bones within the thumb, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The basal joint is in the area that connects the finger to the palm, and arthritis of this joint is most common in women aged 40 or older.

Thumb basal joint arthritis is a result of aging and the wear and tear of living; however, if there has been a fracture or an injury then the arthritis may progress at a quicker rate, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Symptoms of thumb basal joint arthritis include swelling near the base of the thumb, tenderness and pain in the area, and difficulty opening jars or car doors. Treatment via surgery is often necessary when the pain becomes unbearable or the range of motion with the thumb is so limited that daily tasks are difficult to complete, reports the Cleveland Clinic.

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