Basal Joint Surgery

Basal joint arthritis occurs when the cartilage of the thumb joint (carpometacarpal joint) wears away from the bone, and can no longer act as a cushion. The resulting friction between joint and bone causes pain, swelling, decreased strength and limited range of motion. Basal joint arthritis is commonly caused by inflammation in the lining of the joint, which can lead to difficulty in performing simple tasks such as turning a doorknob, opening a jar, and pinching or gripping an item. Although it can be successfully treated with conservative measures such as medications, severe cases of basal joint arthritis usually need surgery.

The Basal Joint Surgery Procedure

To effectively treat more severe cases of basal joint arthritis, arthroscopic surgery is often performed. Basal joint surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. There are a number of surgical options available, and which one is chosen is determined by the patient's specific needs. The procedure may involve repairing the joint structures or debriding damaged tissue. In other cases, arthroplasty is performed to fuse, reposition or replace the basal joint.

Recovery from Basal Joint Surgery

After undergoing basal joint surgery, the patient usually needs to wear a cast or splint over the thumb and wrist for up to 6 weeks. Once the cast is removed, physical therapy is often recommended to help regain hand strength and full range of movement. A complete recovery from basal joint surgery can take up to 6 months.

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