How long will I be in hospital?
This depends on a number of factors. The majority
of patients can be admitted and discharged home
the same day (Day Case Surgery). A small number
of patients require an overnight admission.
What is the treatment after surgery?
A cast or split is worn after the surgery for four to six
weeks. During this time the patient returns to have
their stitches removed, usually between ten and
fourteen days after surgery. Once the cast is removed
physiotherapy is started and this may continue for
several months. Sometimes a removable splint
is worn for a few more weeks once physiotherapy
What are the risks of surgery?
All of the surgical methods involve similar risks
including infection, stiffness, nerve injury and
increased sensitivity of the skin. Occasionally, when
bones are fused together they do not unite (knit) to
each other and this may require further surgery. These
problems can usually be managed successfully but
occasionally they may result in long-term problems.
How successful is the surgery?
The success rate of surgery is good with about 90%
of patients being satisfied with the pain relief and
restored use of the thumb. Occasionally other joints
near the base of the thumb develop arthritis requiring
How long is the recovery period?
Once the cast is removed and physiotherapy is
started, there is a steady increase in strength and
motion and decrease in discomfort. Total recovery
may take six months to a year following surgery.
Arthritis at the
Base of the Thumb
The Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Limb Service
M Briggs Medical Illustration Royal Preston Hospital
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Produced by The Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Limb Service
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What is arthritis at the base of the