Thumb joint fusion

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grayone
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/22/2007 10:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been reading old posts and came upon some discussion about CMC thumb joint fusion.  Ally-cat, Dpete and Razzle51 were discussing experience with this in January.  I had my thumb joint fused in Sept. 06 after initially having the athroplasty done first and having it fail in 6 months.  The arhtoplasty is where they take out a bone and insert a rolled up tendon in its place.  I had a difference surgeon do the fusion.  He took out the rolled up tendon and used a plate and screws to secure the joint for fusion and then needed to remove the hardware 3 months later because it was rubbing at the base of my thumb whenever I would turn it.  The removal was not in the original plan.   I am still having pain at the base of my thumb.  sad    Dr.says the bone is fused and seems to think this will clear up in another few months.  Did any of you experience anything like this?  I am back to searching for my pain pills after a weekend of picking up a new grand baby (only 13 lbs.) and playing catch for a while with another grand daughter.  I am still trying to work part time and this is really difficult.  I am a hairstylist.  I have OA. 
 
At some point I need to have something done to the other thumb also.  I'm just not sure where to start.
 
Any info would be helpful.  Thanks. 
Grayone

Dpete
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/24/2007 3:25 PM (GMT -7)   

Grayone,

I had both thumbs fused the right one Feb. 2006 and the left one Nov.2006. I havent had any trouble with mine. The one I had done in Nov. is still a little stiff. But it took the the one I had done in Feb. several months for all the swelling to go down. I had screws put in mine not a tendon.

Good luck
dpete

grayone
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/24/2007 10:25 PM (GMT -7)   

dpete,

Do you experience any weakness?  Would you be able to pick up a baby and play catch without having pain afterwards?  Are there any limitations you feel that you have other than the decreased range of motion?  I do not have any swelling or stiffness.  Just pain with use. 

Thanks for sharing.

Grayone


Dpete
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/25/2007 4:40 AM (GMT -7)   

Grayone,

The left one that was done in Nov. I still cant use it  like the right one. But I have no pain in either one. I have no weakness and I would be able to pick up a baby and play catch to. Even now that my left one is still a little stiff.  I can turn the knob on my washer without pain. It was the best thing I had done. I also had 3 joint replacements on my right hand and 1 joint replaced on my left hand. Keep me informed on how you are doing.

dpete

 

 

 


ally-cat
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Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 5/2/2007 2:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Grayone,

I am sorry that your are having so much trouble. Being a hairstylist would be very hard work on your poor hands.

I will tell you about my experience: It has been 5 months since i had my thumb fused, and i have been so happy with the results. There is no pain in the joint anymore, and my grip feels a lot stronger. I dont get any swelling, but my joint can be a bit stiff in the mornings when it is cold.

Have you had a second opinion about your thumb?

I hope you feel better soon,
Ally-cat

grayone
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/2/2007 10:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Dpete and Ally-Cat for your replies.  I had one surgeon do the arthroplasty.  When that failed I sought out this second surgeon who did the joint replacement.  Both Dr.s had been highly recommended.   confused   This second surgeon seems to think I have scar tissue under the incision that I am trying to work out that will get better with time. He said the scar tissue is keeping the nerve endings from reconnecting properly and when they do all will be fine. They used the same incision sight 3 times in less than a year.  I am trying to believe him but it is hard.  He said about 2 more months which would be the middle of May.  I think I am doing better at work, not pain free by any means but better.  The hardest thing seems to be lifting the little ones.  After a couple of times it really hurts.  The Dr. released me last visit and said if it isn't better in a 'few' months to call him.  I am trying to be patient. 

katherm02
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/20/2007 7:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear grayone, I also had the arthroplasty surgery in January, along with 4 other procedures done on my right hand. When I went in for a follow-up visit to the surgeon last week, the surgeon informed that my thumb joint is way to loose, and more surgery is mandatory with joint fusion He questioned how I could tolerate the pain, however, as I was informed by the P/T whenever I complained about the severity of pain it was explained to me that this was a normal part of the recovery process. There are times where it feels as though, a marble is being pushed through a straw, or an explosion in the thumb area. It does get intense at times. I was unaware that was not normal after 16 weeks of recovery and tolerated it. I am still unable to grasp, pinch or write more than 5 minutes, I do have a numbing sensation and stiffness is awful. I still awaken during the night because of the pain. I am curious as to your experience and if you now feel as though your surgery helped. Thanks.

eureka
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 5/20/2007 9:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I had two fusions which failed which the bofy rejected. Titanium, then a bone graft with permanent screws, All were accompanied by terrible pain, which shot up into the shoulder and down back. I changed drs and he did an arthroplasty. This has greatly relieved the pain, however, when doing repitive work which required a pinching motion...the pain returns.

good luck to all

grayone
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/20/2007 10:11 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for your replies Katherm and Eureka.  I did not experience the marble thru a straw or the explosion type of pain after the arthroplasty but mine was also very intense.  The second surgeon said that it had totally come apart...it was attached to NOTHING on the bottom part where the first surgeon had put it in.  I had many sleepless nights with the throbbing pain.  PT and the first Dr. just kept telling me it would take time.  It is better after the fusion but I am by no means pain free.  I am able to work half days.  I am a hairstylist......talk about hand over use!  The thing that causes the most pain is lifting my grandkids.  Just a couple of times and I am back to the throbbing pain for several days. 

Eureka,  I am somewhat confused as to how you can have arthoplasty after fusion.  I guess you are saying it totally failed so they could still go in and take the wedge of bone out since they had not fusioned together.  What a mess!   The Dr. told me arthoplasty is 98% successful.  Some of us have to fall in that 2% I guess.  Glad it is working better for you.  I have read that fusion can fail also and you are the first I have heard from that it has happened to. 


katherm02
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/29/2007 7:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear All, thanks for the input and information. I really appreciate the experiences of others, so I can determine what to expect after the surgery. Can anyone tell me how long the recovery process is after the joint fusion? I was informed by my P/T that I will be immobilized even longer this time. Grayone, I can't even imagine using my hand(s) consistently at this point. Even w/household chores, I have to stop and rest because of the fatigue. However, I did find a couple of products to help me out, one is the Black and Decker Power Scrubber (Big Lots, $8.00), which works great, the Gizmo can opener, and lid popper (for jars). Unfortunately, I have not gained much strength back in my hand, so it's very distressing not being able to perform simple common tasks.

Thanks again, everyone!

grayone
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/29/2007 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   

Katherm, I was in a cast for 5 weeks.  Started very limited PT at 6 weeks and returned to very limited work at 8 weeks.  I was told the fusion takes a full 12 weeks so I needed to be very careful for that time frame.  I will certainly look into the power scrubber and the Gizmo.  Thanks for the tips.  I found a swedish cutting board that really helped me that has prongs that stick up to hold an apple or potato.  It's on a handicap hand gadget site www.wrightstuff.biz/swedcutboar.html    Kind of pricey but saved my fingers. They have some other good stuff there too.

Grayone 


secunda
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/14/2011 4:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi I'm due to have thumb joint fusion soon. left hand middle joint. Golf is the main problem and always painful particularly when the thumb is bent backwards at the top of the back swing. Has anyone had the procedure done and were you able to have mobility and the ability to resume golf. The joint is sore constantly but the pain is bearable and does not cause to many problems . It is only with heavy repetitive movement that the problems start pain wise and thats why the need for the fusion procedure. I am becoming increasingly nervous and question the need for surgery at all. Can anyone help?

2much2do
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/3/2011 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm considering carpometacarpal joint (the joint at the base of the thumb) fusion surgery and am also, like "secunda," a golfer. I'm wondering how the loss of flexibility of this joint might affect my golf grip and swing. Has anyone had experience with this? (I also play tennis and have the same concerns about the surgery's effect on my ability to grip a racquet.) Thanks for any guidance.

I should say, in the interests of full disclosure, that my pain does not result from arthritis but from a traumatic injury to the thumb about 30 years ago, when I tore the tendon that keeps the joint properly aligned. Over the years, the misaligned bones have abraded, destroying the cartilage in the joint and developing areas of inflammation (cysts?) in the two bones.
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