A trapeziectomy is a surgical procedure to alleviate the painful symptoms of arthritis. Arthritis at the base of the thumb is very common, usually caused by normal wear and tear from every day activities. It can cause pain and stiffness and can weaken pinch and grip strength.
A trapeziectomy involves the removal of the trapezium, the small bone at the base of your wrist that joins your thumb to your wrist. With the trapezium removed there is more space for the thumb to move without bone surfaces rubbing together and causing pain.
It may be possible to relieve pain from arthritis by preventing activities that cause pain to get worse, taking painkillers, having physiotherapy or wearing a splint to immobilise the thumb. Steroid injections can also help but often the benefit is only short term. If symptoms persist, surgery may be recommended.
A trapeziectomy can be performed under local or general anaesthetic and will usually take 60 – 90 minutes. A small incision will be made on the back of your hand at the base of your thumb, enabling your surgeon to access and remove the trapezium. In its place, a ligament will be constructed from the tendon that runs over the trapezium, to reconnect your thumb to your wrist.
The incision will be closed with stitches and a bulky, protective bandage will be applied.
A trapeziectomy is usually performed as a day case so you will be able to go home on the day of your surgery.
A trapeziectomy is excellent at relieving pain in the long term, and improving grip and pinch strength and overall function, but recovery from this procedure is slow. It takes most patients 4-6 months to return to all their normal activities.
For the first 2 weeks following surgery it is important to keep your hand elevated to avoid swelling. You will continue to wear the bulky, protective bandage. Gentle movement of your fingers will prevent them from becoming stiff. You can take pain relief medication as required.
After 2 weeks you will be able to progress to a less restrictive splint that will keep your thumb protected but allow you to use your hand. You will need to wear this splint day and night for up to 6 weeks. During this time you will be able to use your hand for light activities and you will be given some daily exercises to ensure mobility and strength in your hand is restored.
Depending on your job you may be able to return to work after 6 weeks, but you will need longer for anything that is manual. It may be 8 – 12 weeks before you can drive. Your surgeon will monitor your recovery and advise how long you should refrain from driving, work and sport.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Trapeziectomy is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Trapeziectomy treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Mr Justin S Chatterjee
Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive Breast and Hand Surgeon
One Hatfield Hospital
Mr Rajeev Sharma
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon - Upper Limb Surgery (Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand)
One Hatfield Hospital