LRTI surgery recovery sharing

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pcb123
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Date Joined Jun 2013
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   Posted 6/21/2013 8:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi I am hoping folks who have had the LRTI surgery for basal thumb arthritis will post here about their recovery issues that come up.  I am 11 weeks post op from this The original pain that brought me to the surgery is gone, however, so many new issues have arisen.  I am not back to my old self at all and wonder what to expect in the future.  Please share and thank you.

stkitt
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   Posted 6/22/2013 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
 
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I would kindly suggest you ask specific questions re what info you are looking for. Have you consulted with your Dr. yet about how you are feeling?
 
You are still in the healing process which for each person can be different so try to take it one day at a time.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
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pcb123
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Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/22/2013 11:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Kitt, I just received your reply and I am replying back. I realize I am in a healing process. Are you familiar with LRTI surgery? If yes, how? Have you had it or are you in the medical profession? I am coming up against issues and if I could ask a specific question it might be along the line of What exactly is happening inside my healing hand in this process after the surgeon did what he did to help me along with my problem? Thank you Kitt. pcb123

Ilova
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Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/22/2013 1:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a new member to this forum; hello to you all. My name is Ilova.
I am replying to pcb. I have had LRTI with tendon transfer on both my hands.
First on my left hand, May 2011 Right, dominant hand, February 2013. I know the healing process & recovery is slow. To be be able to use ones' thumbs, hands & wrists fully, can take up to 6 months to a year. I was lucky in that I regained full strength within 31/2-4 months. I am pleased that I had both surgeries & very satisfied with the outcome.
:-)

Post Edited (Ilova) : 6/28/2013 1:28:02 PM (GMT-6)


thymenagarden
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Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/28/2013 9:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Also new to this forum, would like to reply to pcb. I think I know what she means, the basal arthroplasty and lrti can take a long time to recover from, and there are a wide range of postop symptoms. I am at about 15 weeks, and still have some stiffness, burning at the incision, and lack of dexterity. I think it is helpful to try to go for periods where you use your hand normally, and follow the therapy excercises. But, don't let it get you down!

Ilova
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Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/28/2013 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
pcb, as Kitt wrote, you need to take 1 day at a time.
Be patient with your healing process & allow yourself the time to heal without thinking too much what is going on in your hand.
You thumb/hand/wrist need to settle down after your surgery.
Ilova.

pcb123
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Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/28/2013 11:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for suggestions and support. pcb

margaritalinda
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Date Joined Jul 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/5/2013 4:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hang in there pcb,

Its going to get better and better. I'm now 6 months out and just got back from a trip with my students. I could hoist a full suitcase (I mean reeaaly full) one-handed with no problems, have no pain at all in the operated hand, and am looking forward to July 11th when I have surgery on the left (dominant hand). That will prove a little trickier, but I have been practicing and my eyeliner is going on straighter every day using my right. Just keep up your exercises-at least for several more months. I stretch out both my hands every day and do range of motion exercises on the left so it doesn't tighten up before surgery. ( The left thumb wants to move toward the palm and I am fighting to maintain full movement and flexibility) I will be having the thumb done and also a carpal tunnel release.

Margaritalinda wink

jujub
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Date Joined Mar 2003
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   Posted 7/6/2013 5:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I haven't had the surgery, but likely will need it someday. My ortho told me it would be a 6-12 month recovery period for this surgery, and he knows I'm a quick healer.
Ulcerative colitis diagnosed in 2001; symptoms as early as 1992. In remission since 2006 with Remicade.
Inflammatory osteoarthritis; osteonecrosis from steroids
Grave's disease successfully treated with radioactive iodine and now on Levothyroxine.
Type II diabetes induced by steroids.
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margaritalinda
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Date Joined Jul 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/6/2013 7:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judy,

The 6-12 months is for full strength. I was back to full-time teaching 13 days after surgery(could have been sooner but it was over Christmas break) with no pain after day 5. The cast and brace were inconvenient, but didn't slow me down. I started driving when the cast went on but really could have driven sooner(check with your insurance and state laws!). So when you get to that point, especially since you heal well, don't, worry about a long recovery too much. I was lifting full storage bins by Easter.

Margaritalinda

lindabou456
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Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/28/2014 6:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning Everyone,
I am 6 weeks out post op with the LRTI (left hand - non-dominent) & i have to say that not knowing what to really expect recovery wise, i think i am doing pretty well.  I don't have the pain that drove me to have the surgery, but i do still have some discomfort at my wrist and it is still pretty swollen (along with my thumb).  I am out of the splint and in the brace, which from what i have been told, i'll be in for approx 12 weeks. I only took a week off of work after the surgery and of course that's when i started driving again as well. It has been a bit inconvenient, especially when it comes to simple things like blow drying my hair, but i have managed.  Driving one handed is also challenge, but i go slow & park far away from everyone else.  There have been a couple of times that i have made the mistake of trying use that hand too soon, but was quickly reminded (by a sharping shootin pain..)  "don't do that".    I know it's hard after surgery because you think you should be well by a certain point in time, but keep telling yourself, this is major surgery, they took a bone out of your hand for heavens sake... be patient and do what the doctor tells you!!
 
I am going to have to have my right hand done as well once my left is all healed up... now THAT is where the challenge is going to be!!
 
Good Luck & wishing everyone a healthy recovery!!

saw19
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Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/6/2014 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I had my left (non dominant) done Nov 2013 along with carpal tunnel also. Recovery from surgery was easy, no pain. Since then though I am still having pain in my thumb, not as painful as before so I worry if that's normal still (Sometimes my left hand still goes numb)? There are definite strides in my recovery I have noticed, some that others have mentioned (at first: incision pain, not being able to do drive, gripping things...) and lot of improvements over 10 months.
I'm hoping for things just to be on the long side of the recovery process because I need to have LTRI surgery on my right (dominant) hand too so hopefully things will work out for the best. I am beginning to have trouble writing & typing so I don't know how long I can hold off.

Post Edited (saw19) : 9/6/2014 1:51:49 PM (GMT-6)


cheyenne1
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Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/18/2014 8:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I am 4 weeks post op on my left hand(non-dominant), cast came off today, now wearing a hideous splint! lol. I have been out of work for these past 4 weeks and will probably be out for another 6-8 wks, as I type for speed for my job! I am slightly frustrated as I guess I really did not know what to expect, pain wise, from this surgery. I am not use to just chilling out and not doing, doing, doing....Physicians Assistant told me today to make sure to not use my thumb and focus on recovery, so that is what I NEED to do. I start PT next wk, 3x a week. I need to have this done on right thumb as well, that will be a tough one for me...

Thanks for listening!

Daisy Kitty
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Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/29/2014 4:03 AM (GMT -7)   
i just had LRTI surgery yesterday on my non dom hand... both hands are in need however i only suffered continous pain in my palm and thumb on my left hand. i hesitated to have it done however i was in so much discomfort that i wasnt using my left hand at all...hence: the decision to just do it. I can tell you that im in extreme pain at this moment but reading this forum has giving me hope that ive done the right thing...i didnt really realize the recovery time was so long. in thr past i had bi-lateral carpel tunnel, bi-layeral dequervain release as well as trigger thumb...recovery was quick to other surgeries...but i see that this surgery will be longer.

SDW
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Date Joined Jan 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/7/2015 12:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I am brand new to this site and/or forum. So forgive me if I should be posting to a different thread. My question is: how many other modalities/treatments, etc did you go thru before doing the arthoplasty LRTI surgery? I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of hands/wrists many years ago. One year ago, the pain began. My left hand (non-dominant one) is the worst right now. I'm a tough bird when it comes to pain. But, the loss of FUNCTION is what's most distressing me. I started with 800 mg Motrin for bilat thumb pain; no pain relief. Then steroid injectionon left hand, no relief at all (although done by my rheumatologist and more over the tendon cuz we thought it might be De Quaervain's). Then, she sent me to Ortho. He did steroid injection in both thumbs. Pretty good relief, but only for about 6 weeks. And he won't do injections but every 4 months. So, now I'm 7 weeks post steroid injections, and, today, I popped a Motrin and I guess Motrin with steroid is taking edge off. But, basically I say that I just want to go ahead and do the surgery. After all, arthritis only gets worse, right? My Xrays show bone on bone, bone spurs, etc. My Ortho surgeon is fine with that; but I'm not sure he's specifically a hand specialist. On the other hand (no pun intended), the LRTI looks to be a pretty common hand/ortho procedure and he seems very familiar with it. I'm 57 years old, female, and otherwise in excellent health; so I want to do it before I develop anything else in my advancing years! And, too, I can feel my right hand starting to get worse.

Cass415
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/8/2015 1:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi folks,
I am contemplating having the LRTI surgery (I have seen the surgeon twice) but my research suggests if I do so I won't be able to work for some amount of time, which is not an option for me, period. My symptoms are not so much pain as loss of use of my thumbs. Thumbs are slowly moving toward the center of my palm, so I can't open my hands flat anymore. I have no pain if I'm not using my hands.

I'm 60 years old. I work as a dog walker and cat sitter in San Francisco. I don't have an assistant or anyone who could sub for me and I also absolutely cannot afford to lose any income. I only walk one dog at a time, always on a leash, and I don't take dogs who don't walk pretty nicely on leash. The cat sitting end of things requires opening cans of food, feeding and giving water and scooping litter boxes. Also a bit of driving around town from job to job.

My question is, is my assessment correct, that the surgery would require a minimum of 2 months of not doing this work? Thanks!

Nellie217
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Date Joined Apr 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/21/2015 9:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I am new to this thread and hoping to see how others have done after a second procedure on the dominant hand. My first LRTI surgery was end of May 2014 on my left, non-dominant thumb. I did very well and in Feb 2015 decided to tackle the right thumb. Well it was a little different to be sure. I started out feeling that my left hand could pick up the slack for the temporary loss of the dominant hand. Perhaps I expected too much, because I started doing things with the left hand that I'd never done before, like tweezing, opening bottles and jars and writing - print, not cursive. My left hand began to feel the effects of this over-use and so I started wearing a protective thumb brace just to rest it and keep it properly aligned. I still have pain and or discomfort on the heel of my left hand, which I did not have until I started to overuse it after the right hand surgery was done.

My right hand may also have been a bit overused post-op. I seem to have a ball of tendon near the incision and my doc suggests going back in and snipping the excess tendon with another 3 weeks in a splint. I am hoping the swollen ball of tendon will diminish on its own as healing progresses. Has anyone else had this happen? I appreciate any comments on similar experiences. Thank you.

wecd
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Date Joined May 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/4/2015 10:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello, I am new to this site. I am having my LRTI - CMC (carpometacarpal joint) surgery this Thursday (May 7, 2015).
I am very nervous as I have not heard of anyone having this done.
I am having it done to my right hand, the dominant one. I am a women, 60 and worried about doing my hair (I use a curling iron) and doing my makeup. Someone on this site mentioned something about eyeliner.
I had rotator-cuff surgery last May and it was everything I heard it was however I was lucky because my doctor was able to do it arthroscopicaly. Only 4 small incisions. I bought a standing thing to put my hair dryer in. I still use it for the convenience. It only took about 3 weeks and I was able to bend my neck enough to use a curling iron to do my hair so I was ok with that. With a curling iron, you use the thumb to hold the clip down. Have tried big electric brushes, so far not as good. I say to myself if I have to go once a week to a Salon and get my hair done, like the older women like my Mom do, well that's what I will have to do. The makeup is also a worry to me. I guess I will just have to wait and see how it goes. Anyone out there if you can give me suggestions or how that worked for you, I would appreciate it.
My sister has to have it done to her left hand (non-dominant one).
Her doctor told her more about the long hard recovery than my doctor did. My doctor said if I can do the rotator-cuff surgery then I can do this one. And, I have allot of allergies to pain medications, I did not use any pain pills for the rotator-cuff, they gave me a block in my neck and I didn't feel the pain until 2 days later.
However, this time, I did get Diladid and not the generic. This is what they use to give me in the ER when I had Migraines. I also have Fibromyalgia, so all my doctors say that when something is wrong with me, the pain is increased 10 times then someone without Fibromyalgia. I got rid of the Migraines and the Fibromyalgia started. So as you can see, I am not really very healthy. But I am a fighter and I usually don't let pain get me down. I have been dealing with this pain in the thumb for about 4-5 years. Last year the injections did not work. My last injection wore off May 2014.
So, a year of constant pain. I feel I don't have any choice.
Anyone out there with any suggestions I'd be happy to hear from you.

Post Edited (wecd) : 6/8/2015 12:36:25 PM (GMT-6)


jujub
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Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10405
   Posted 5/5/2015 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Consider simplifying your hairstyle before surgery. A simple "pixie" cut can be handled without a curling iron, and almost anyone could blow it dry for you. Your hair will grow out while you heal, and by the time you need to curl it you'll probably be able to use the iron.
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Ulcerative colitis; 8th year of remission with Remicade. Inflammatory osteoarthritis; osteonecrosis from steroids. Grave's disease post-RAI and now on Levothyroxine. Type II diabetes induced by steroids.

SusieQ466
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Date Joined Dec 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/9/2015 9:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello, I'm new to this site and to typing with one hand. I'm 5 days past CMC fusion with bone graft on my left, non-dominant thumb. Surgery pain was manageable with minimal Vicodin and LOTS of elevation. I've been using the narcotics for better night rest only for the last 2 days. Now in my first of two casts for the next 7 weeks. I did a couple of hours in the office yesterday and will get in some quality work from home today. I was OK on the road driving, but I will limit that when possible. I'd love to hear any tips on cast exercises and tips/tricks dealing with a long (below elbow) arm cast with spiked thumb. Not so painful as awkward, but I'm looking for any ideas that you people might have. Thanks!!

Donna NJ
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Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/12/2016 7:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi. I had LRTI surgery one week ago today. I am wearing a half cast and bandaged well. The burning type pain I have is more annoying than anything else. Next Monday I will go to the surgeon and have the stitches removed, and I believe the pin removed also. The pin is holding the bone and ligament together from what I was told. I don't know the protocol of recovery yet ( when to start P.T. ) etc. I am anxious to return to work. The surgery was performed on my right hand, but my left hand is also affected and needs the same surgery. I was given a cortisone inj. in the O.R. so I can use the hand without pain.
I'd like to hear what the recovery process is. I'm sure it varies from dr to dr.

freedancer
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Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/17/2016 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Donna. I had my surgery on January 12, 2016. I am also in the half cast. Have you been getting really bad cramping pain in your forearm? They almost put you on the carpet. I am thinking it is where they took the tendon but I am not sure. I had my right hand done which is my dominant hand. I have great finger movement so far. No more numbness at all. Some swelling and I too will have to have my left hand done. Are you driving or have you gone back to work yet? I had to use my vacation for this surgery. We have no sick time anymore. Are you off the pain meds? I am only using Ibuprofen now. I will have my stitches out on Jan 25th. I would like to know how you are getting along. Thanks, Pamela Conley from Billings Montana smilewinkgrin

Post Edited (freedancer) : 1/17/2016 4:25:47 PM (GMT-7)


Donna NJ
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Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/17/2016 5:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pam,
I didn't have any cramping, but the burning type pain in my thumb is terrible. I sometimes have sharp spasms too, but no cramping.The 4 fingers move fine and are helpful with doing things. My half cast comes off tomm. (1/18), which is one week and 6 days after surgery. I was told the stitches will come out , but don't know about the pin. I started driving one handed last Monday, 6 days post, and did ok. I also take ibuprofen for pain. The Dr had given me dilaudid 2mg after surgery, and I only took 4 of them. It was too strong for me.
As far as work goes, I had 8 sick days and then starts the dissability pay. I went back to the gym on Thursday, (9 days post op) but do only the elliptical and lower body exercises. I don't think the doctor would have advised it, but I'm too depressed being home and non-active.
Tomm. will be interesting. I'm curious as to when I will start therapy.
I am 58 years old, and probably don't heal as well as a young woman. My thumb pain has been a problem for around 5 years, and the doctor has been suggesting surgery for the past 2 years. I am primarily left handed, but am very ambidextrous. I'm dreading having the left done, but don't know how long I can hold out.
I will write back after tomm. and tell you what the doctor tells me. Until then... Donna Whalen, Hillsdale N.J.

Donna NJ
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Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/18/2016 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello again. Whell today was my 2 week post op apt. Let's just say I am disappointed that I have 2 more weeks in this half cast, and with the pin before both can be removed. The doctor took it off to check the incision, which looked ok, and I was pleasantly surprised that instead of stitches there was glue. So no stitch removal!!! Boy was I glad! Since the apt I have a lot more pain. Maybe just in my head since seeing the wound?? So my next apt is on Feb.1st. It will be 4 weeks post op by then. The pin will be removed, and I can start O.T. 3x/week, and there they will make me a brace/splint.
I hope that writing about my progress helps others. I must remind myself that I need patience at this point.

freedancer
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/19/2016 2:00 PM (GMT -7)   
So you didn't have to have a full cast for 4 more weeks? My doctor told me I will get the half cast off on Jan 25th and a full cast on for 4 to 6 more weeks. I haven't tried driving yet. I am 7 days post op right now. My Aflac kicks in after two weeks post op. I had 230 hours vacation and no sick leave as they took it away from us several years back. I will be on FMLA after my vacation runs out but I am hoping the doc will let me do half days after the 25th. I can't go back full time until I am able to drive safely. We have to drive company cars to transport our clients. I've been having more pain the last couple of days. I don't know if it is because I tried to do too much but it is very localized to one area.
freedancersvoice@blogspot.com
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