I'm weighing up surgery on my thumb joints

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I have osteo arthritis of both thumb joints. I'm 70, still very active ( currently on a skiing holiday) and work full time in my business. My condition is getting increasingly painful. I get by with painkillers. I have seen a surgeon but I'm really concerned about the long recovery time. 

Has anyone here had basal thumb surgery and if so would you mind describing...briefly...what the surgery and recovery like and any complication. I would be most grateful.

Cheers. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Caringbah.   I too have OA in both thumb joints but haven't been offered or considered surgery yet.  I did research the possibility at a time when both (particularly the right hand) were so painful I was at my wits end and very restricted in what I could and couldn't do on a daily basis.  Have a look at the Arthritis Foundation website where there is some easily understood info on thumb surgery, listing all types and their pros and cons.  For me personally, I've decided to avoid it presently until and unless it gets so bad I can't manage my life.  In the interim, do try some natural remedies for inflammation - like fresh ginger, or curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric), both have helped me cope with the pain better.  Good luck in whatever you decide. xx
  • Posted

    Hello Caringbah, I have had bone fusions done in both my thumbs.  They are done as day surgery, and the aneasthetic is a pain block, they injected me in my neck and the whole arm then becomes totally dead for hours.   I had a plaster on for two weeks, after which the stitches come out, and then a new plaster for another four weeks.   Of course it is very restricting, no driving, and awkwardly trying to do things with only one hand, but I have to say the end result is worth it.  OK I still don't have a strong grip, and like before the ops, I still can't open jars, etc.   However what I don't have is the constant pain, it is such a relief.   If you have someone who can assist you while you are in plaster, I would say it is well worth having the op.   Hope this helps, Madeleine.
    • Posted

      Thanks Madeline and Loxie. The surgeon wants to remove the trapezoid bone. It seems to be a very common surgical procedure for this condition but there seems to be a very lengthy recovery period. 6 -12 months. The loss of strength doesn't worry me too much as I have little strength anyway because of the pain. 

      There is a lady on you tube who documents her recovery on a week by week basis for four months....it was horrific...infections and complications. She stressed that she was a worst case scenario but in the end ...4 months....she was happy with the result. 

    • Posted

      hi caringbah.  Yes, I read that the removal of the trapezoid bone does incur a very long recovery.  Is there no less invasive option available?  I have friends in the states and they apparently only do this procedure as a last resort, with other options considered first, ie arthroplasty.  Full removal of the trapezium does seem to come with a high risk of complications but I guess is sometimes the only option for pain relief.    
    • Posted

      I've been offered this in both thumbs and all fingers to be fused, I'm still thinking as it would mean possibly a year out of my life for recovery

    • Posted

      Hi Loxie, I am going to see a new doctor (2nd opinion) in Houston.  Claims to be less invasive and one person said the pain had subsided substantially within a week and was back to almost 100% within 3 month...which is still a long time.  They speak about 2 different surgeries. One takes tendon from your wrist and the other in called a mini trapeze.

      Good luck to all of you. I am hoping this guy has something easier to provide. Thank you. Good to hear from other people! 

    • Posted

      I have this done. The left hand in August and in the right-handed in December. My left hand is about 70% but not having the pain is such a blessing. I heat up a pack every day and wrap my hand and then afterwards I work it into physical therapy on it myself. I don't think it will ever be 100% but I can live with 80 or 90%. I've noticed that my right and seems to be a lot easier recovery than my left hand and I'm not sure why. I don't have the pain in my right hand that I did on my left. I'm two weeks into it as of today. And what I understand the recovery is a total of 6 to 12 months for full recovery. There's a couple of photos of me after the surgery. The first two weeks the cast looks huge. 

    • Posted

      I had one thumb done, in October, my right one. Yes I'm right handed. My basal joint was removed and replaced wiith a tendon. I am pretty pleased with the fact my thumb does function well, considering. The pain at times is still pretty bad but the minute you put it in a heating pad it immediately stops hurting. I use hand warmers or pocket warmers as some call them and they help a lot too. I still have issues with lots of things. Zippers, buttons, opening jars, peeling potatoes, styling my hair with a curling iron, tieing shoes, pulling boots on, opening locked doors with a key, car ignition and this is just a start. I could go on but this is general. My hand is getting better very slowly. My strength is so, so and for now this has proven to be a life changing choice I made to be able to stop needing pain pills and hopefully to be pain free one day. I need my other hand done but I'm going to see just how long this takes to heal and I want to make sure the surgery works. I'm not chancing both hands. I have to make sure I have at least one hand that can get me through. It hurts a lot but it does work still. The surgery took about a hour and a half. I went home and felt ok, had minimal pain with meds of course. Two days I was up and pretty much only taking pain pills on occasion. You can't use your hand so that's the bad part for many days learning to do everything with your left hand. Its aggravating and frustrating so be prepared for that part. As I said it is life changing. Mine has been about 11 to 12 weeks now and I'm in hopes every day gets a little better as it seems to be. I do therapy now at home daily and I use my hand to do what I can. Overall I'm pretty happy with things.

    • Posted

      Mine removed the trapezoid bone - on the left hand 10 years ago and on the right hand, 1 week ago. Works well! I have a lot of strength in my left hand so I'm hopeful for my right.

    • Posted

      Sws - this is great news and so encouraging. I am 4 1/2 months out on my left hand, in two weeks on my right. I'm starting to think maybe I should've gotten my head examined instead of my thumbs. Ha ha

      I'm back in therapy for my left hand and can do a lot with it. The pain is gone but it is still very stiff and sore.

    • Posted

      Is that the removable splint?  It looks like the one I have been using for the last year at work, except it just went down to my wrist.  surgery on Friday - gettnig nervous.   trying to prepare (pull on pants, shoes, ice packs, etc).  But it is the little things like doing my hair in the am, cutting up food, getting the toothpaste lid off, lol that I am thinking will be the pain.  How are you doing manuvering through life?  smile

    • Posted

      Jeannie, I'm one month behind you, so am 12 weeks post surgery now. I believe we had the same surgery, CMC arthroplasty, so am very interested in your progress to date. I'm looking forward to the final outcome but right now am still experiencing a lot of pain and inflammation. The swelling just hangs on. My doctor now says to give it another three months. I'm wondering how you're doing. Any encouragement would be appreciated. Thanks. 

    • Posted

      Hi, I had cmc arthroplasty 9 weeks ago. Don't have much too complain about. Not real happy with wrist and the top of my hand is ice cold often! I know that comes from the wrist because when I move wrist in a back motion it starts up than and stays the rest of the day..annoying! Do you know how long until that feeling goes away? Did you have that problem or anyone else reading please let me know. I get the other hand done in 2 weeks. I think it's still worth it but I would love!! For the wrist too calm down with cold and funny feeling.

      Thanks, Dawn

    • Posted

      I am 5 months out with the same surgery.   No thumb pain, but still lots of stiffness and soreness...does not stop me from doing anything, but still hurts.  Also, have some upper arm discomfort, like deep bone, not muscle.  Have you experienced any upper arm discomfort?  Thinking about going back to doc.
    • Posted

      I had a thumb joint replacement on 1/24/2017. My experience has been similar so far post op. I will have the sutures out 2/9/2017. Not sure if I will be recanted or not at that time, I will need to update. Prescription pain medication managed my pain very well for the first few days. I was able to change to Advil and Advil PM and have been very comfortable. If I don't take the medication every 4 hours I get a throbbing ache. It is very helpful to have some assistance while your arm is in a cast.

    • Posted

      Hi Marlene...

      I had right hand CMC arthroplasty on 01.13.17. I had the "suspension" surgery. I was in a dressing for 3 days, then went directly to a removable splint with my fingers free. I was able to drive right after I received the splint. My hand therapist removed the stitches at two weeks post op. I kept the full splint on for 2.5 weeks and then they cut it down to just a hand (above my wrist) splint to protect the thumb. I started PT twice a week and have weined off the splint completely. I am coming up on 6 weeks post op and I can touch my thumb to my pinkie finger. I have good hand/wrist movement but I am lacking strength yet. My wrist feels tight but I know it will loosen up. I am a photographer/videographer and I use my right hand for everything! I was considering having my left done but decided to wait until January of 2018. I want to make sure I have all my strength back. If anyone wants to know more about this type of procedure...let me know. I researched all the variations of this surgery and chose the one most suited for my needs. Thumbs up to all of you!

    • Posted

      Hi

      I also need this operation in both thumbs and I'm looking for a good hand surgeon in the north east of England, Newcastle, has anhyone got any recommendaitons please.

    • Posted

      Hi Lynn had mine done at chapel Alperton in Leeds by female surgeon absolutely fantastic after care can't remember her name maybe Miss Holaran ? But very good and strict with her staff, can say after a few hiccups thumb is completely pain free. Would highly recommend this hospital

      Good luck on your journey

      Kevin x

    • Posted

      I was wondering how your hands are doing now? I had the left hand done in January and my right one two weeks ago. My left hand is so much better, except I get a sharp pain often at the bottom of the Basel joint. Still, it's very livable and nothing compared to before surgery. My right hand, still in a cast for 2 1/2 more weeks, gets the same pain. The pain leaves very quickly. I wondered if you had any pain like that; I thought I'd be totally pain-free, but after reading answers on here, maybe that's an incorrect assumption.Just wondered if your hands are pain-free, and if so, how long it took. The worst thing about both of the surgeries is I can't do my hair! And if I can't straight iron it,  my hair transforms into this frizzy thing that I can't control!

    • Posted

      Gawd, you must be a masochist having both ops done in such a short time. I had my right done in January, and while it is relatively pain free except for an occasional spasm and sometimes a bit of aching.  A lot better than it was that is for sure, no where near as strong yet, but it needs time to build up strength.  I planned on waiting at least 9 months before getting the left thumb done.  My surgeon said it can take up to 12 months to be totally pain free and near to full strength.  As I said in a previous post, I did a pinch test between thumb and 1st finger on left/right hands, and 3 weeks ago it was 9kg/3kg a week ago 8kg/6kg, so obviously the strenght in the right is coming on nicely, and the left is pretty ordinary, but it hurts more than the right now, so I suppose that is to be expected...
    • Posted

      Good to hear you are doing well.

      I saw another hand specialist this week to see if there was an alternative to trapeziectomy for me. Sadly, this specialist agreed it was the solution for me. My left thumb is now bone on bone, with no joint space left & right heading that way. As I have the arthritis in both sides of the trapezoidal bone then removing it is the only way to solve that. I also have bony spurs. Recently my left thumb got stuck across my palm & I was unable to move it until later. Specialist thinks it may have been due to a loose piece of cartilage getting stuck.

      I was hoping joint or partial joint, replacement might have been an option but not a good solution apparently for thumbs.

      I have been advised that it can take months to get back to 'normal' & that my 'normal' will most likely have a weaker pinch grip ( pretty weak already on Left) but will remove the pain. I've been putting off having surgery but ready to gain quality of life back! I will opt for L side surgery first. (worse pain & condition this side)

    • Posted

      I believe it really is the way to go, my trapezium bone was basically welded to all the other bones, so it was well and truly stuffed.  I would suggest my other thumb is as bad if not worse, and the result while not a walk in the park is looking to be well worth the effort.  I can grab my right thumb and get it to rotate very well whereas the left is pretty well very much limited in its movement. as far as voluntary movement it is probably already better than the left with no associated pain. This to me is a huge plus.  The decision is ultimately up to you, but there are risks as one person here has found with resultant nerve damage.
    • Posted

      Well a year on since my operation thumb where trapezium bone taken out is great no pain whatsoever, however arthritis in thumb knuckle and joint below has now got very painful arthritis as is my wrist.

      The joys of Athritis, sick of pain killers and other meds for pancreatitis,

    • Posted

      Hi, I had surgery 8 was ago on my left non dominant hand. Now the pain in my wrist keeps me awake at night. Pain in my thumb joint is gone except for an odd twinge. I am so worried about my wrist - I see that most believe 3-6 months is realistic for recovery. Dare I hope for pain free movement in my hand. I dont feel I could face surgery on my dominant right hand. Thanks for sharing by the way. Lll
    • Posted

      Lynn, don't know if you are sorted yet ...but I go to the Spire Hospital in Washington (Tyne and wear) under NHS though ...absolute best surgeon ever for hands and shoulders is Mr Fourie ...brilliant surgeon ...he did a big shoulder op for me 9 months ago ....

      i am now facing further anaesthetic/steroid injections in both thumbs again to see if I get about longer than a month or two of relief because of arthritic thumbs .....if that doesn't help this time then I face surgery and he said he would remove the trapezium and then use a ligament to give me use of my thumb again ...I do a lot of embroidery and can't stitch now 😥 and he cannot guarantee the op will let me stitch again or not ...I have watched the op on YouTube and it is relatively quick and straightforward compared to my shoulder and done as a day case with full anaesthetic (I have reasons for not being able to do local) ...but to be without the use of my fingers for a few weeks is making  me decide not to have it done ...I am 71 and apart from joint and back problems, am relatively healthy.....but at the moment not happy with the op after reading comments here ....it would seem ok if you have someone who will do absolutely everything for you for at least a week or so ...but no good for those of us who really must have use of hand ...

    • Posted

      Hi Michelle

      How are you getting on? I'm having my first thumb done in July & just wondering what clothes I will be able to get over the bandaging/cast?

      Saw my hand specialist yesterday & he says I will be in a half cast & bandaging for 2 weeks post op. Then a check up of wound etc & then a full cast put on for 4 weeks. I'm in the U.K. so hoping it's warm so I don't need sleeves!!

    • Posted

      Not sure if you got my reply Lynn ...but get a referral to Mr Fourie at the Spire  hospital Washington, Tyne and Wear ...he is brilliant ...did shoulder surgery for me last year and now helping me with OA in my thumbs ...yes it is a private hospital, but they do offer to NHS and NHS pay for you....just that your GP surgery doesn't want you all to know ... very very quick with appointments and surgery, hardly any waiting, and treated sooooo much better than Sunderland hospital 😀

    • Posted

      Hi,Heather. What country are you in? I'm in the US and will see hand surgeon next week after the clinic referring me on. So far, the surgery you mentioned hasn't been discussed as an option; thus my question about where you reside. When I had a cervical fusion 10 years ago, surgeons in Europe were using techniques not yet available here. 

      I am uncomfortable with the idea of LRTI, especially the removal of trapezium. I understand it has had good outcomes for 40 years but I wonder about where to start to research my options. I'm a fit and active 67 year old woman. I made a point to go to a doctor who is Department Chair at a University teaching hospital, assuming he'd be knowledgeable about the latest approaches. Can you guide me to the questions I should be asking him next week? How is your recovery/rehab progressing? Thank you!

    • Posted

      Lynn I think I replied to this before, but it is difficult to find replies in this sort of forum ...I am also in North East and the best surgeon ever is Mr Fourie at The Spurs.  Washington (Tyne and Wear) ...it is a private hospital but he does NHS patients as well ...all you need to do is ask your own HP to refer you to him ...he does upper body bones including hands ..he did a big op on my shoulder last September and has been treating my thumbs also ...I face the op on both thumbs which includes removing the trapezium because of arthritis ...I have watched the op on YouTube and as Mr Fourie said, quite simple compared to my shoulder ....but this op for thumbs has many more complications and I cannot be without use of my hands for sooo long  a recovery and so many folk have had big problems ...so for now I am relying on other things ...just wondered how things were with you at this point ....

      Val ....

       

    • Guest
      2 Sws

      Posted

      Hi.  I am 48. And have this mod osteo arthritis in my thumb.   I am hoping to learn from you.  What exactly and how exactly did your second hand have its repair?   Did you get a Helmi trapeziectomy?  And minintight rope suspension-plasty procedure?    Any insightful comments will be appreciated.      Thanks.   Arthur.   

       

    • Posted

      Ask for the arthrex tight rope suspension -plasty.  And arthroscopic hemintrapeziectomy.     I am about to go to the doctor and ask for the Same thing.      Google the mini tight rope.     Ask about it.  It can avoid the lrti and if it fails.  You can do the lrti later.     Good luck.   
    • Posted

      I had left hand CMC arthroplasty and carpel tunnel release on 6/1/2017.  yes life is still challenging, suture areas are still painful, but I am hopeful for a less painful daily life.  I will have the right hand done as well but not until 2019.  I too get the sharp pain in the basel joint and was told that it could be a nerve firing.  I looked into a combination hair dryer and brush before the surgery as I knew I would not be able to manage. The one I am using is a Conair spin styler.  I don't know if using this would help.

    • Posted

      Greetings, you mentioned a Houston surgeon who was using wrist tendons for a procedure to address OA in the thumb joints.  Can you forward me his/her name?  Thank you, Rick
    • Posted

      Hello. I am interested in your research. I will most like plan for my right hand surgery and my doc has only mentioned the procedure where the cmc joint is removed and replaced by a tendon. I like the idea of having options. 

      I see your post is 5 months ago .  Hope your recuperation has gone well. 

    • Posted

      I am at crossroads here.  Dr. wants to replace basal thumb with tendon.  my past surgical history is not good.  I react to everything.  don't tolerate pain meds and have flares only when I overuse it.  my strength is not that bad altho the arthritis Is with bone spurs.  Just not sure its worth it.  Dr. keeps telling me this surgery is for pain......how much farther can it progress, its bone on bone

    • Posted

      Hi Shelia, I'm scheduled for surgery 9/25 and in researching the surgery, after care, rehab, etc. I did run across a study with graph comparing results vs. timing of surgery (tried to find it again, no luck). From my gleaning, it showed the earlier the better, and in a range of 1-10, I seem to be at a 7. And I can tell you, the pain does not seem to halt with time, it only gets worse. In addition, I am losing use and strength of that hand from "saving" it and increased pain. My MD has also told me the surgery will relieve the pain and I can expect, with no complications and conscientious rehab, up to 99% positive results. Everyone is different and I've yet to have the surgery, so we'll see. Good luck to you.

    • Posted

      I saw a hand surgeon today, he suggested the CMC arthroplasty.  He said it was a 3 mth recovery time.  I also will need to have the end joint of my thumb fused.  This would be a separate surgery, also a 3mth recovery time.  I work in a locked psych unit so really need my hand for unlocking doors and also as a cake decorator.  I have lost some much strength in my hand, keeping dropping things.  He said the pain will get better, but the strength will probably not return even after surgery.  I'm really needing my hand fixed not sure what to do.  Anyone have any other ideas?

    • Posted

      Hi Mellonie,

      My doctor also said 3 month recovery time.  I assume that includes therapy since my cast is due off at 6 weeks post op.

      I don't understand why you would need to have the end joint of your thumb fused.  That is the bone (trapezium) they generally remove and use a tendon to reconnect.  I would not want my thumb fused - that is exactly the problem I had corrected.  I would suggest you google everything you can find regarding CMC Resection Arthroplasty.   Read about the different surgeries available for basal joint arthritis and also research all you can find about your doctor.  Be sure he/she is an orthopedic doctor who specializes in hand surgery.  This is important!

      This is a day surgery so I considered is minor.  Not the case at all.  It is invasive and certainly not pain free; however, I think it will be worth it.  Like you, I had to do something due to pain and loss of function.

      Please keep us posted when you make a final decision. 

      Best of luck to you.

      Linda

    • Posted

      I'm in the U.K. & had a trapeziectomy with soft tissue interposition in July this year. I had a cast for 6 weeks in total post op. It was a half cast & heavy bandaging following surgery, which was then changed to a full cast a week later (usually this is done 2 weeks post surgery). In total = 6 weeks. 

      Had my cast off August 31st and was then given a light splint (thumb spica) to wear but was told to increase the periods of not wearing it. 

      I still have some issues caused by being in the cast, in addition to working at getting use of thumb back. 

      I had very little mobility in my wrist the day the cast came off & still working at getting that back. It's improving but still swollen on the outer edge, little finger side, & so some moves are very hard/sore with less range of movement. My fingers are also very stiff, especially in the morning & index finger in particular is still swollen. 

      I kept my fingers moving whilst in the cast so must admit I am surprised that I still have these issues. 

      My physiotherapist said that being in a cast with hand set at that angle for a period of time, does lead to issues so we are working hard at getting my range back & he suggests I keep some pain meds going so I can use my hand & do my stretches. Doing them in the bath is an amazing excellent way. 

      Still can't get palm flat either. 

      I also had heightened senses on operated hand when it came out of the cast, which I discovered when home. I'd not been told that some people may get this, so was a bit concerned at first! That is almost back to normal now, except area around the thumb. 

      Good news is that I've driven my car (automatic) a couple of times even though hand still a bit uncomfortable on wheel. I can bend my thumb & reach index finger fine, picking up light stuff that doesn't need too much pressure. I can now also just about reach middle finger, more so if in water or later in day after lots of stretches & am trying to increase this. 

      I only go fortnightly for physio as most of the work is done by me. He did massage the wrist bones a little when I was there yesterday though. He stressed it is important to use hand as much as possible to keep muscle memory & connection with brain.  It is second nature to try & protect the hand to stop aches/pain but this is one time when we need to keep it moving. 

      I was prepared prior to surgery that my thumb would take months to get to a sense of "normal" , maybe 4-6 months & was told it could take up to a year before I know if the surgery was successful. The outcome should be a thumb with no pain but maybe a reduced pinch grip. 

      I wasn't prepared for the wrist & finger issues caused by being in the cast. Not sure if mine are worse as I have hyper flexible joints or not? 

      At the moment it's those things that are causing the most discomfort but I do lots of stretching/bending etc so hopefully it will get easier.  Physiotherapist said yesterday it had improved & I was on track. 

      Hope I've not put anyone off surgery but I would have liked to have had more info about possible things happening before surgery. It wouldn't have stopped me going ahead as I'm a music teacher (piano & woodwind) & a keen crafter, but would have prepared me more! 

      I do need the other hand doing at some point but will wait until next year to see how my operated hand is. It also depends if the non operated hand deteriorates more. My operated hand had lost all joint space above & below the trapezoid bone. Last year, when I first considered surgery it still had a little left. 

      All surgeons have their own methods of surgery, even within the same country & often different post surgery regimes. 

      I did my research thoroughly before going for my surgery & travelled to a slightly further hospital to get a hand surgeon that was recommended. I also sought a 2nd opinion as was looking into options, that did not involve removing the whole bone e,g partial or full joint replacement. Both surgeons explained that it was not a long lasting possibility for the thumb joint as it's such a complex joint. Not many here in the UK now offer it as a solution. One of the specialists I consulted has performed this surgery but he agreed that Trapeziectomy was the solution for me. 

      Good luck with your outcome! 

      Sorry for the long post, but had lots to say!! 

    • Posted

      Hello Mellonie,

      After years of pain, splints and injections I decided to have the CMC arthroplasty done. I am 1 week post-op. My best advice to you is to find a hand specialist group of physicians, not just an orthopedic who specializes in hands. I had previous shoulder surgery twice by an ortho and both turned out beautifully, however the surgery done in the hand specialty group went much smoother and fewer problems. For example the nerve block. For the shoulder the anesthesiologist was not specialized in only the arm block. With both surgeries they missed the nerve and I had to have a local. They also left a bruise as big as a salad plate. Horribly painful as well. At the hand surgery center they got the nerve in seconds, no pain or bruise. Bruising is probably one of the biggest factors with pain. I have bruising, swelling in my hand from this surgery which is expected, but as each day goes by it gets better. I will be getting my stitches out and cast in 3 days and PT that same day. My sis-in-law is a PT and said to see a PT certified in hands and keep up PT no matter how painful. The hand specialists I see only do hands and have a state of the art PT clinic only for hands. I had a second opinion with an ortho/hand doc and he said I would not need PT. This sent up a red flag for me. I am looking forward to great results from my excellent hand team. Will be having my right/dominant hand done next year. Best of luck to you!

    • Posted

      On Tuesday I had a trapeziectomy done on my right hand, it was very painful the first 24 hours, I only had a local anaesthetic in my hand which had to be topped up. I can move my fingers and straighten my fingers as well so I am pleased so far. In just under 2 weeks I will have stitches out and all depends what it looks like will either have a splint or a cast. Now the only bad thing that happened I had to have a piece of arthritic bone taken out by the wrist, well,the surgeon took the wrong piece of bone out and had to fuse it back together. I am just hopping it causes me n problem....
    • Posted

      Holy cow!  I can't believe the surgeon took out the wrong piece of bone.  What is going on with these "doctors"?  Are they stupid, careless, or just don't care?  I'm surprised you were even told.  Did he/she offer any information on what effect the fusion might have?  Hope it won't cause you any problem.

      Keep us posted.

      Best to you,

      Linda

    • Posted

      It is really bad that the surgeon took out the wrong bone!! I hope the fusion works out ok for you!! It sounds like you are doing well otherwise. I am 1 week out and feel that I am making progress too. I see doc in 3 days and will get stitches out , cast on and PT. I will be asking him why my shoulder on surgery side hurts at night so I can't sleep. It hurts more than the surgery sites! Are you having shoulder/upper arm pain? My husband thinks the weight of the arm is pulling muscles. Will see soon. Good luck with your recovery!

    • Posted

      After the operation went back to day surgery room, surgeon came and said he was sorry and that he had to tell me he took the wrong bit of bone, because later on down the line if I have an X-ray it will show up that I had bone fused together and that's not what I went in for. He is hoping it won't affect me but we won't know till much later...

    • Posted

      I aim am only four days out, but mine seems to be going quite well, I don't have any shoulder pain, I don't wear the sling for long I rather prop the arm up on a cushion, I can't see any swelling in fingers only thing is my arm is very itchy. I don't get my stitches out till a week next Thursday, he is not sure if it will go into another smaller cast  or a splint I will just have to wait and see. My left arm hurts a bit because of being used so much now. Good luck with your recovery....

    • Posted

      Hi Lynn

      my doctor has just recommended surgery on my right thumb I also live in Newcastle upon Tyne so can you tell me whether you went to head with it and whether you are happy with your surgeon ?

    • Posted

      Help!  I am a woodwind player, primarily the flute.  I had to stop playing my bass flute 3 years ago, then my alto two years ago.  I didn't understand why - just thought it was because I was getting older.  Then I went to a guy who did my son's wrist surgery (he was a hand specialist) and he said "oh it's just old age arthritis" (I was 53!) and dismissed me.  Now I struggled through my last concert with my standard soprano flute and primarily am limited to my piccolo.  I'm so sad.  I went to a nice and well recommended hand surgeon who said it was CMC basal joint surgery for me and told me that when I was ready, I'd need to have the surgery. He'll be using the tendon to use on the base of the thumb and apparently just eliminate the bone at the base of the thumb in my wrist (I asked to keep it. He thought I was a bit odd.  It's my bone, I want to keep it).  I need both done, but I need the right done first as it's the dominant hand.  

      WILL I BE ABLE TO PLAY AGAIN?

      How is your recovery?

      Thank you

      Val Yerkes.

    • Posted

      Well I am not a musician, but I had this done 10 months ago and my hand is pretty well able to do everything it could do before the Arthritis. It is not quite as strong as it used to be, but the pain is 99% gone and the thumb works normally. I see no reason why you should not be able to return to normal playing after the recuperation period.  This varies on the individual and on how well the surgeon does his work. There are horror stories about this operation, but if you have a competent surgeon, there really should be no reason why it should not have a successful outcome.
    • Posted

      Hi Val, I had the surgery almost 8 wks. ago and my surgeon initially said he would “smooth” the bone and use the tendon as new cartilage between the thumb and wrist bone. However, at surgery the trapezium had to be removed because it was so damaged. I would imagine that if the wrist bone is worn away from arthritis and is left in, it would not be strong enough to support the thumb bone. Not a dr. but perhaps one could go into more detail with you. I put off the surgery because it’s not an easy surgery, requiring a lot of OT and about a year to get full use but: 1. It does not improve with time, only gets worse, 2. I was losing strength in my dominant hand because I was avoiding using it for the pain, 3. I wasn't getting any younger, 4. read research that indicated the earlier reconstruction, the better the results. It’s a big decision, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Good luck, feel your pain!

    • Posted

      Hi Val 

      Like you, I wanted to keep the bone so researched joint replacements etc. I saw 2 different hand specialists, one of whom has done joint replacements. However he said that it's not a long lasting or particularly good option for the thumb, so now opts for the removal instead ( trapeziectomy with soft tissue interposition ). As both said that was my solution I finally went for that ( non dominant hand first as that was worse). 

      I'm recovering well but had a few set backs, mainly with the wrist & fingers once plaster was off. I also had a slight case of chronic regional pain syndrome but that has just about gone. 

      I had a steroid injection into my wrist in mid October as I still had severe inflammation.  That is now easing well. 

      As I was having a few issues I decided I needed to find a specialist hand therapist, which is hard in my part of the U.K.  It turned out that the local NHS hospitals have specialist units but are referral only and can be hard to get in. I spoke with a lovely hand therapist at one, saying I'd had only a few sessions with a non specialist physiotherapist & explained the issues I was having. She gave me some very good advice over the phone & said I needed to be referred to them. Session 1 was 2 weeks ago. Very comprehensive examination & measurements taken. I had  very weak strength on that hand , almost non existent, which is why I was having issues. I also had fibrosis in my fingers (this was picked up in the Ultrasound scan I had in October, when I also had my wrist steroid injection). She told me that this would get easier with use & to expect a long recovery after a trapeziectomy - 9 months plus. I was aware that the thumb could take a while but hadn't expected the other issues. 

      After session 1 I was given some new exercises to do, along with the ones I'd already been given by my original physiotherapist. Hand putty plays a large part! As I have hyper flexible fingers on both hands then that has most likely attributed to my arthritis, so using the hand putty has been good, even if hard work! 

      Session 2 was on Friday & my hand had improved so much that I don't need to see her again, unless I have anything I'm concerned about. My grasping strength has improved from 5  (at my 1st session) to 22!  My right hand scored 35 at session one, so she would expect my non dominant hand to be around 30. 

      My pressing with thumb has also improved, although still a bit sore. I have to keep going with my exercises & build up strength & mobility. 

      My right hand ( non surgery) also has arthritis so will need that operating on at some point but hoping to keep going as long as I can. I put off my left hand surgery for a year, but probably should have had it done last year as hand would have been stronger than it was this year. 

      I think if you are prepared for what may lie ahead  post surgery & some time out from doing things you normally do, or could do before arthritis appears, then it's a good solution.  I'm not back to all my instruments yet, partly due to my lack of strength I had in wrist & finger issues, but thumb is getting stronger & more mobile.  I found the flute hand position hard (LH) but that was possibly down to the fibrosis I have & not thumb). I could cope with a small recorder & now can hold my fife, not tried flute or clarinet yet. Piano playing is possible but need to build up stretching & strength but can manage simpler things. 

      I'm still not back to crochet/ knitting either as I  can't keep hand in one place for too long & my fingers are not good enough yet for holding yarn ( crochet). I've tried a couple of times but was told to have another go in a months time. 

      Sorry for a long reply, but in answer to your question "Will I Play Again?"  I think I would say yes!  One of the hand surgeons I consulted when researching solutions pre surgery plays piano, so I asked if it would be possible after surgery & he said yes.  It takes time but do-able. As it's your right hand then you won't have the hand/finger position that the left needs, which is what I struggle with. It's a case of building up your strength & also find a good physiotherapist to help you. 

      When I have my other hand operated on I am going to ask to be referred to the specialist clinic for my physiotherapy post surgery. Also, I think now I know what to expect & what may happen post surgery I believe my next surgery & recovery should be easier!! 

      Good luck Val. It's worth going ahead as you can't play now but will do again. :-) 

    • Posted

       On October 6, 2017 I had my left thumb done with basil from surgery they removed the entire trapezoid bone. I have recuperated about half the time of a normal patient. However it has been a long haul with getting the strength back in my phone it has been about 10 weeks now and I can use my hand in my thumb but I have to be careful it’s still talks to me a little bit but it’s well worth it. I am having troubles with my  right thumb. I will probably have that surgery done next year. I am from Rockford Illinois and I had my surgery done at Swedish-American Hospital outpatient surgery with Dr Brian Bear. The pain before surgery was far greater than the pain after surgery. I had to take three months off work. 
    • Posted

      Hi Marlene

      just read this and and I am hopeful ! About 13 years ago had my right and left cmc joint operated on !  A tendon was taken from the side of my forearm rolled in a ball and cushioned between two bones ! Success until now ! Think the ball moved or something ! Having awful pain ! Tried making my bed and just pulling covers up was painful ! Can’t call my surgeon today as it’s Saturday! I am so worried as I have had numerous surgeries through the years ! Been working out 33 years, rough on my body & lots of wear and tear ! Two new knees, hip replacements 4 months ago, 3 shoulder surgeries ,rotator cuff ! Just so tired of Surgeries! It sounds

      like you had a procedure little different then me and a pretty Quick recovery! Is that so ! 

    • Rambo123
      1

      Posted

      Yes my surgery was a success now twelve thirteen years later having some difficulty with pain in thumb,hand and wrist !  Went to see my surgeon and told him I suspected the tendons that were rolled in a ball & cushioned between my thumb bones were wearing out! He suspects just a lot of inflammation in my hands ! Told him I am pretty rough with my hands and he asked me if I have been doing weights lately ? I said no ! I have been handling 4 cone shaped essential oil diffusers, a few times a day which were very difficult to open and using every bit of strength I had, to open them ! I think that may be the problem ! Since it had only been a week with the pain my dr. Suggest Rest & wear a brace when active ! If not better after a week go back, maybe cortisone shots ! I still have discomfort  but not as bad though, so I will give it more time ! 

    • Posted

       Thank you for your reply. I did not take time off from work which was a big mistake on my part .   Pain management is my biggest problem right now .
    • Posted

      I'm supposed to get my right hand done in 2 weeks. I'm right handed. The doc said I would be back to work in 2 weeks typing. Is that true? You are saying it took you almost a year. I'm trying to see if I should get the surgery since I won't have anybody to help me???

    • Posted

      I have just had a finger joint replaced on my right hand and I am right handed with no one to help me and its amazing how resourceful you become. Make sure you have plenty of food ready to go in the microwave for the first few days.

      I was back at work after 2 weeks the first time, but this time he said 4 weeks. It wasn't an issue for me as not working at the moment. remember that there are only very limited things you can do as you have to let it heal. 

      Just remember this, a few months of inconvenience reaps years of long term benefits. For example, took about 3 months for my first joint replacement to be as it were back to normal. That is 6 years of pain free, priceless, why suffer because of a few weeks hassle. 

       

    • Posted

      Very much wishfull thinking I reckon. One should still be in a splint for around 6 weeks. I am typing this 4 days after the operation, and it is very painfull.  I am a touch typist, but no way can I touch type at present, just picking with the good hand. The hand that was operated on is very swollen too, looks a bit like a boxing glove.
    • Posted

      Would agree with others that back to typing in 2wks is optimistic, especially if you will still be in a cast/splint. I didn’t have much swelling but certainly couldn’t type, I pecked with left hand. That being said, we adapt and, for me, 3 mos was my “good to go” moment, able for the most part to live my life. I’ve posted previously that my dr told me, from 3rd to 6 mo, a rapid improvement; after 6 mo, improvement in smaller amts but still improvement up to 18 mo. Well worth the inconvenience for a few weeks. Will need to left hand in future and will do in a heartbeat! Good luck with your surgery. I followed Dr and PT recommendations to-the-letter and contribute that my success, hope yours will be successful as well! Keep us posted!
    • Posted

      So........ Now at the 1 year mark- are you so glad you did it????Thinking this is the way to go for me as daily life is getting really difficult due to the pain. Cortisone has stopped working and the braces don't really do anything to alleviate the painsad Surgery ( even with the recovery time) seems to be the best option?

    • Posted

      4 weeks in and doing better. But last couple days I have a knot just beside the large scar that has increased drastically in size in last 24 hrs.  Getting a little concerned as it is hurting more.  In fairness, haven’t worn the brace hardly any in last 3 days.
    • Posted

      Hi Heather

      Thank you for your post - I require this op, but keep on researching, one minute I want to go ahead, then I get rally scared - but you have given me hope in that you managed to drive right after having the splint!!  Obviously must be an automatic - please can you send me any information you may have that will help.  I have arthritis in both thumbs and base, bone on bone - I am not worried regarding op, but I need to work and being a realtor down in sunny Cabo I have to drive.  Many thanks in anticipation!!

       

    • Posted

      Def driving an automatic! Idk, some days I regret the surgery, others I’m glad. I expected it to be much less inconvenience and recovery, I will say that . Hate the scars, I feel like people will think I tried to commit suicide!

    • Posted

      Hi gerldine, I had the surgery Dec. 28.  Thumb was bone on bone in fact alot of the bone was worn off. I had the bones removed & ligament taken from my arm and made sling for thumb.  I had the splint, 2 cast and physical therapy, the same routine as most.  I was determined to play golf by March!  Dr . just said we will see!

      The weather was too bad to play in March but I was released from all treatment .  I started  playing on April 2.  Yes I still have some pain and numbness but no big deal.  I just do my exercise.  I was able to drive as soon as I got off the pain pills which was about 2 weeks.  Hope this helps.

      I love Cabo!!!!

    • Posted

      Hi Ralph, just noticed your post from about a month ago and your “knot” may have cured itself by now but it reminded me of mine. While I was in the splint, thought a bee had gotten under the wrap; had a little hard knot at the tendon removal site that felt like I was being stung by a bee, so weird. It wouldn’t go away so gave Dr. a call, was told it was normal and to massage the knot. Must have been part of the healing process because within a month it had disappeared! 
    • Posted

      Thank you "girl" I love all the info herein and thank you - yes Cabo is beautiful have lived here for 14 years from Jersey, Channel Islands!!  I am sure the sun will help me recover quickly!!

    • Posted

      Geraldine,

      Go for it!   I had the surgery last Aug.  Initially fractured my wrist in May and when cast came off my thumb was fused. (Long story but but fracture did exacerbate the existing osteoarthritis.)  Anyway found a better hand ortho who offered surgery as the only option.  (First one offered NO options.) Between the fracture and surgery it was 5 months of being one-handed but surgery was definitely worth it.  I drove 2 days after surgery (once pain meds were out of my system) and also drove myself to ER with the wrist fracture.  Number one is a hand ortho that knows his/her business.   PT is so important once that cast is off.  Patience is also very important as it seems like nothing will ever be normal again.  Just grit your teeth and stay positive.  Get a hair style that requires minimal effort.  Buy a 1-handed battery-operated can opener.  And stock up on those plastic bags from the meat department for showering.  I found them much easier to get on/off than the cast cover I purchased.  Elevate your hand as much as possible post-surgery. 

      Best of luck and keep us posted on how you're doing.

      Linda

    • Posted

      Thank you Linda - I am becoming very positive and will let all know how I get on once I have the surgery, not sure when that will be but soon...  Everyone is being so very helpful and I do appreciate all the input!!
    • Posted

      The sun will be great for you.  My sister and I go there for a girls trip in Oct.  Good luck with your surgery!
    • Posted

      Hi there, 

      I have osteoarthritis in both thumbs, right-hand dominant but left-hand pain worse. Steroid jabs no longer working & because it now wakes me in the night, surgeon says, this IS the solution and as with all of you previous writers, he says 6 weeks in cast but I'll hate him for 3 mos & it'll take 6 mos recovery. 

      Now, I have underlying vasculitis (MPO) in remission after chemo treatment & on low-is dosage immune suppressants. I had half-knee replacement 8 mos ago for osteoarthritis & it was surgical success; I definitely walk much better now with less pain but pain in different areas still there. Something I was told I could expect so I'm not worried per se. However, because I have another medical 'hot spot' another osteoarthritic joint/s in my left foot causing me constant pain (only resort now and it's a Last Chance Saloon so consultant/surgeon & I definitely holding off), I'm wondering whether having my left hand/thumb done At All is a good idea. 

      1. recovery period, possibly/probably longer due to immune suppressants I must take; 

      2. having to deal with 3 major pain 'hot spots': residual post-op knee, left foot (see above) & thumb is possibly more than I can cope with. 

      3. finally, this is minor really but I live alone though my adult kids are close by & I have friends. 

      Can anyone offer advice on this? 

      Has anyone Not had it done? I have been told that the osteoarthritis eventually settles to a point of pain-free-ness or is that just people 'getting used to it', kind of like a frog in a pot of cold water not noticing when heat is put the pot under it boils the frog? 

      Thanks

       

    • Posted

      Hi Linda and Girlhavnfun

      Well had surgery - ie small bone taken out and tendon split etc., on 29 May - fabulous couldn't feel a thing "nerve block" used.  Had to renew my driving licence on the Thursday, managed to sign, although weirdly!  However just going into 4th week, still in plaster cast, but since yesterday the pain between my index finger and thumb is bad, also a few shooting pains - did either of you have this happen, I am worried I managed to strain it somehow, because I find getting dressed and cleaning really difficult?  Anybody help me on this?  Thanks!!

    • Posted

      Dear all, 

      I thank everyone for the positive comments & what sound, generally, like great recoveries from trapieziectomy op. 

      Ultimately, due to another on-going health thing & because I've actually got a Lot of movement in the thumb joint & in consultation with my doc, we're going to postpone for about 6 mos, check it & see where we are. 

      Many thanks to everyone who replied! 

      annie

    • Posted

      I told you. You're doing great. This is all normal. It's going on 3 months for me and I still have shooting pain. It takes about 6 months to be normal

    • Posted

      I had my surgery May 4.  Still have various shooting pains. My biggest pain is on the forearm where the tendon came from.    I only had a. Day for 10 days. Then, an immobilizing brace was hand made.  I was in that for 4 additional weeks.  Now I’m just in a neoprene thumb/wrist brace called comfort cool.   I thought I was going to be in cast longer and was surprised when removed so quickly. 

      I think we are all doing great.  I love this site.  Others were so negative and scary. 

      Keep  healing everyone 

    • Posted

      Hi Donna - Thanks, yes thank goodness for this site, otherwise I would be really annoying the surgeon with constant worries!!  Once I have the cast off and have a splint I will let you know am going, please follow up with your experiences too.  Good luck hope it is all worth it, but feeling very positive.

       

    • Posted

      had my surgery YESTERDAY.  am typing slowly w hand.  used the alpha stim (look it up its great) to help me w pre op anxiety and post op pain.  Had only one percocet today and its 430 PM.  Kept my cast as far above my head as possible.  Iced but dont know if thats doing much as the casting is sortof thick.  

      I'm actually on a conference call for work right now (no it's not very intense obviously) so even though my right hand hurts ALOT i can still get around even tho i'm right had dominant.

      I'll keep you posted.  (Had basal thumb joint -removed the bone and harvested the tendon).  Afterward i looked it up on youtube- the surgery i mean.  not as creepy or gross as you might think.  

    • Posted

      Hi Yerkes  You may find you are still experiencing pain rellief from the nerve block, my pain did not start until 2.5 weeks after surgery.. anyway hope you carry on as you are.  I think most guys here have researched as much as they can and Youtube is a good start for sure.  However I prefer to read all the advice and experiences here as there are over 600.

      Good uck

    • Posted

      If you had the nerve block, you won’t feel pain for awhile.  After it wore off, I took one pain pill.  After that, I could control the pain with Aleve. 

      I actually watched a 15 minute video of the surgery on you tube .  I thought it is fascinating and really mentally prepared me for surgery.  As I searched google  for that video, I found many of people stating their progress at 1 week, 2 weeks, 3, etc.  Many of those videos scarred the crap out of me.   I had to stop watching.  They had every bad reaction possible. Then, I found this site and have gotten encouragement , good advise, and suppprt.  It’s helped me a lot 

      Good luck on your recovery.  And listen to the dr advise.   I am the type that wants to do more faster, but I’m following their instructions this time. 

    • Posted

      Hi Geraldine,

      You might ask your doc about the finger/thumb pain if that is new and continues.  Otherwise, sounds like you're doing well.  I am thrilled with the results of my surgery although it took longer than usual because of the fused thumb and incision on the palm side.  Fingers are still a bit stiff but that's from the wrist fracture so I'm a happy camper.  Delaying the other hand for now as it is pretty painful some time but not constantly.  When it gets bad enough I'll definitely go for the surgery as it was a real blessing for me.  I'm thrilled to reach an octave on the piano again and even back to playing accordion.  Was it you or someone else who was concerned about piano playing?

      You should be out of that cast soon and you'll feel like a new person then.  Do take physical therapy as recommended.  It will be slow but very beneficial.   And keep us posted on your progress.

      Linda

    • Posted

      Thanks Linda - et al

      I shall keep you up to date once I have plaster off!!

      Geraldine

    • Posted

       Good morning, I had osteoplasty basil surgery  November 30, 2017. I think each  recovery is different. My   Recovery is coming along, however, it has taken longer than most. My doctor said I am on the year plan. My biggest complaint at this point is I still have some swelling and stiffness which will ever effidently work it’s way out in time.   It is a work in progress and I am progressing but slowly. 
    • Posted

      You are right.  Pain much more today bc nerve block wore off.  Needed to get back on pain meds bc BAM I wasn't expecting pain amount.  Dang.  Oh well.  Husband helped me shower today but now I am ready to lay down again.  More later and thank you for being here.

    • Posted

      Understand - you will improve but remember one step at a time - keep us all informed - be careful

      geraldine

    • Posted

      I contacted my surgeon today and he said well the pain is probably because you have more feeling and you are working the thumb more - three weeks last Monday anniversary ...  DJ please keep us up to date and thank you.  I actually feel that I am a whimp, but still positive!  Good luck everyone.  Thank you so much for this site!!

       

    • Posted

      No one who has this surgery is a wimp!  We're all in this together and I'm so glad I can talk to you gals on here.  No pain meds today so far but advil a plenty.  It's sinking in that this is going go be going for awhile- this pain and the clumpy non use of my right hand.  But I had to do it.  I keep thinking "why did we do this again?" so I'm just hoping at the end of the 12 weeks my MD said I'd be glad but not before,  Also who knew BRAS were so dang hard to put on?  smile

    • Posted

      With you there.  Iam in 4th week now and experiencing excrutiating pain, but surgeon doesnt seem too bothered.  Will see him Tuesday hope for a positive visit.  Just scared I have long term nerve damage or maybe I am just a whimp.  Excuse mstakes no energy to correct

       

    • Posted

      Hi did you ever get your hand done? What was the results?     
    • Posted

      Hi Michelle

      I was wondering how much time you took off work after your surgery? I saw your videos. They were very helpful.

      Jaylene

    • Posted

      Hi Geraldine and everyone just thought I’d update you all on my progress. Going into my third week post CMC Arthroplasty suspension using apl tendon. Right thumb. I’m in a removable cast for the next three weeks. Did drive alittle yesterday, very carefully I might add, and did have a fair amount of pain last night.  I’ve also been strumming my guitar of course with only the other four fingers, but it feels so good. I think the hardest thing is being patient. And realizing there’s still so much I can’t do. Doc said I can stop wearing the splint around the first week of oct which is when I start occupational therapy. But I just know everything’s going to be awesome eventually! Still so glad I did this! Patience is the key lol. Will update you guys in a couple of weeks🎸

    • Posted

      Hi Diane,

      I'm wondering how you are doing now? My surgery LRTI is planned for 30th November and the closer I get the more concerned I am about have the tendon harvest procedure as opposed to just the trapeziectomy, thoughts on this?

      Roger

    • Posted

      Hi , I also have a lot of painful spots. I have hypermobility as well as athritis . I have very painful lumps on the top of my right foot and since breaking my 5th metatarsal on my left foot in the summer, I have more pain in the arthritic area, the left side of my foot, and a lump coming on the top. I have to have a second bunion op on my right foot as it has come back after 26 yrs. Plus I have a bunion on my little toe and a my second toe is a hammer toe , so 3 ops on one foot at the same time. This might be done before my thumb. The consultant told me if I don't have it done I will compromise the other joints in the hand.

    • Posted

      hello. I was wondering how your recovery has been? I am one year out from cmc hand surgery, I am in more pain now then before the surgery.

      I saw my surgeon this week and he was very surprised I was in so much pain. recommending removing the hardware. I'm thinking of getting a second opinion

    • Posted

      Hi Marlene, I'm very interested in your long term pain & grip strength. I,m considering this surgery. I guess in short , was it worth it ? Thanks.......TOM

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