Trapeziectomy for Thumb Osteoarthritis


is a surgical procedure that deals with the trapezium bone located at the base of the thumb. The trapezium bone when affected with osteoarthritis can overgrow (the body does this automatically to compensate cartilage loss) leading to severe pain and a limited range of motion. So, a surgery is required to remove the trapezium bone.

Aim of Trapeziectomy

As mentioned above, in a person suffering from thumb osteoarthritis (at the base of the thumb), there is a bone overgrowth. This is a body’s automated response to the loss of cartilage. The overgrown bone can come into contact with the other bones which leads to a severe pain and discomfort.

So, the surgery is required to eliminate this bone creating enough space for other bones to move freely, thus eliminating the risk of the bones rubbing against each other. This automatically reduces pain and also increase joint motion.

Tendon Interposition and Ligament Reconstruction

Instead of using this thumb surgery for osteoarthritis on its own to get rid of the trapezium bone, it can also be used in conjunction to reconstruct ligaments and interchange tendon positions.

Results of this procedure have been proven to be much more effective when it comes to reducing pain and increasing joint motion.


The side-effects associated with this surgery are rare. However, on some occasions, people could develop chronic regional pain syndrome that causes sever swelling and pain despite the surgery.

In some cases, there can be a tendon or nerve damage after the surgery has been performed.

Post-Surgery Care

Although the trapeziectomy surgery itself is generally a small procedure and an out-patient procedure, the healing time post the surgery can take up to six months.

The stitches need to remain in place for two weeks. After the stitches are removed, one would have to carry on wearing a finger splint for at least 6 weeks.

In order to avoid the thumb from going stiff, one would have to seek the assistance of a physical therapist and perform the required exercises.

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