Total Joint Arthroplasty in the Treatment of Advanced Stages of Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint Osteoarthritis

Article in The Journal Of Hand Surgery · January 2007


Purpose: Osteoarthritis of the thumb basal joint is a very common and disabling condition that frequently affects middle-aged women. Many different surgical techniques have been proposed for extensive degenerative arthritis of the first carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. Joint replacement has been an effective treatment of this condition. The purpose of this article is to present the outcome of a total cemented trapeziometacarpal implant in the treatment of more advanced stages of this disease.

Methods: Total joint arthroplasty of the trapeziometacarpal joint was performed on 26 thumbs in 25 patients to treat advanced osteoarthritis (Eaton and Littler stages III and IV) between 1998 and 2003. Indications for surgery after failure of conservative treatment were severe pain, loss of pinch strength, and diminished thumb motion that limited activities of daily living. A trapeziometacarpal joint prosthesis was the implant used in this series. The average follow-up time was 59 months.

Results: At the final follow-up evaluation, thumb abduction averaged 60° and thumb oppo-sition to the base of the small finger was present. The average pinch strength was 5.5 kg (85%of nonaffected side). One patient had post traumatic loosening, which was revised with satisfactory results. Radiographic studies at the final follow-up evaluations did not show signs of atraumatic implant loosening. One patient complained of minimal pain, and the remaining 24 patients were pain free.

Conclusions: In our series, total joint arthroplasty of the thumb CMC joint has proven to be efficacious with improved motion, strength, and pain relief. We currently recommend this technique for the treatment of stage III and early stage IV osteoarthritis of the CMC joint in older patients with low activity demands. 

Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic, Level IV.

Key words: Carpometacarpal, cemented arthroplasty, osteoarthritis, thumb

Badia Hand to Shoulder Center

Cite this article: Badia, Alejandro & Sambandam, Senthil. (2007). Total Joint Arthroplasty in the Treatment of Advanced Stages of Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint Osteoarthritis. The Journal of hand surgery. 31. 1605-14. 10.1016/j.jhsa.2006.08.008. 

checking implant stability under fluoroscopy