Patients who are suffering from debilitating cases of arthritis, and who are unable to find relief through other types of treatment, turn to surgery for help. One of the procedures that can help these sufferers is joint replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty. They actually replace the small joints in the hand, including the knuckles.
Why Do People Need Joint Replacement Surgery for the Hand?
The hands undergo a substantial amount of stress each day, and it can take a toll on the joints. For those who are typing all day, for example, the joints can start to swell and cause a lot of pain. The joints become stiff and achy, and it can limit the mobility of the hand and fingers. Ultimately, this becomes a quality of life issue. People are in near constant pain, and it is difficult for them to do normal daily tasks.
When resting and using medications no longer helps, the doctor will consider different types of surgery to find the procedure that will help the patient the best. They may consider fusing the joint as well as removing cartilage growth and bone spurs from the area. Those who are older and who have a lower level of activity will often be good candidates for the joint replacement surgery. It can relieve pain and improve mobility. However, older patients are not the only ones who can benefit. You can discuss with your surgeon which option could help you the most.
What Types of Joint Replacement Options Exist?
Your doctor will be able to replace nearly any of the joints in your hand. A DIP join, which is the joint that is the closest to the tip of your finger, can be a very difficult joint replacement, simply because the bones are so small. The most common joint replacement is a PIP replacement, which replaces the second joint from the tip of the finger. The most common fingers to receive these new joints are the little finger and the ring finger. The MCP joint is the third joint from the tip of the finger, and the thumb basal joint is where the thumb connects to the wrist.
When you have your consultation with the surgeon, you can discuss whether your hand condition makes you a good candidate for this type of surgery, or if you might benefit from a different procedure. All surgeries in the hand are complex, and they take a very skilled surgeon.
When you are choosing a hand surgeon, make sure that you vet them to ensure they are capable of providing you with the quality surgery and care that you need. You will also want to evaluate the team that works with them, so you can be sure you are getting the best overall treatment. Make sure that you discuss the pros and the cons, as well as what to expect during and after the procedure, including your recovery time. While joint replacement might not be the solution for all arthritis sufferers, it is something that you and the doctor can discuss.
If you have any questions about hand joint replacement surgery, please call or visit our hand surgeon’s office in West Bloomfield, Howell, St. Clair Shores, or Macomb.