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I am to have basal joint surgery on my left thumb in three weeks.(Osteoarthritis)
I would like to know how effective surgery was for others and the time of recovery. I do have a pamphlet but would like the opinions of others. Thanks.

Biya
I'm 66 years of age and have severe arthritis in both thumbs.
Two months ago (Oct 2008) I had my IP joint (tip) fused and the CMC joint (base of thumb) trapezium bone, replaced with a implant cartilage allograft, and tendon from my forearm. I was in a post surgical cast for 2 weeks, then a thumb spica cast for another
6 weeks and now have a removable spica splint for 6 more weeks. After this 6 weeks, I'll go back into surgery to have the hardware (a 1 1/2 inch titanium screw) that was used to fuse the thumb tip, removed. It will take "up to a year" to gain back strength and full function. This surgery wasn't a lot of fun, but it gets better each day, and already feels better than the unoperated thumb. I was willing to have the surgery and go through the recovery for a year, hope to get a good result for the next 15 - 20 years. Good luck to you.
[QUOTE=linweid;3913492]I had basal thumb surgery almost one year ago (April 2008). I was in 3 different casts for a total of 10 weeks. I had a pin holding the thumb joint to the index finger joint. I did not feel a thing when the Dr. pulled the pin out with a plyers. I was excited about going back to work, but only lasted 4 days and went home in pain. I had alot of sick time accumulated and am now near the end of my 140 paid sick days. I have to retire now, at age 61. I can lift less than 5 pounds with that hand. I don't know anyone else who had the surgery so I can't compare. Without the surgey the outcome would have been the same way, unable to lift more than 5 pounds. The only way I would ever have the surgery done on my right hand is if I was in severe pain.[/QUOTE]
Thanks very much for your response, and I'm sorry to hear you had to use all that sick time but you are lucky it was available for you to use. I had the surgery a week ago and am still in a splint (cast will come next week), but I have no pins or screws. I am hopeful I will have a full recovery (as full as can be expected).
Hi,
I also have to have this surgery in about 6 weeks. I am really afraid of the pain and recovery, but my arthritis is stage 3 and I have almost continuous low level pain and sometimes pretty bad pain. My thumb is weak, and I know I don't have much of a choice if I want to maintain use of my thumb. I'm 51 and had a cortisone shot that lasted about 3 months.

How bad is the pain? I plan on taking only a few days off, but after reading other posts, I'm going to call my doctor to see if this is realistic. I don't completely need my left hand for work, but I don't want to be in agony at work either!

Thanks all--forums are great for real info. My doctor says the first two days will be bad, but then it will be better
[QUOTE=velcro3;4115025]Hi,
I also have to have this surgery in about 6 weeks. I am really afraid of the pain and recovery, but my arthritis is stage 3 and I have almost continuous low level pain and sometimes pretty bad pain. My thumb is weak, and I know I don't have much of a choice if I want to maintain use of my thumb. I'm 51 and had a cortisone shot that lasted about 3 months.

How bad is the pain? I plan on taking only a few days off, but after reading other posts, I'm going to call my doctor to see if this is realistic. I don't completely need my left hand for work, but I don't want to be in agony at work either!

Thanks all--forums are great for real info. My doctor says the first two days will be bad, but then it will be better[/QUOTE]


Dear Velcro3:

I had the surgery on a Thursday afternoon, and was back to work on Tuesday. I could have gone back to work on Monday, but I had already planned to take that day off. After the surgery my doctor had written me a prescription for 50 Vicodin which frightened me--I wondered why on earth I would need so many, and just exactly what kind of pain did she expect me to be in?? Turned out, I didn't need that many at all. I didn't even use half of the 50. With that, my experience was that it was not nearly as painful as I had thought it would be.

Good luck and best wishes with yours. If you're like me, you'll be SO glad you made the decision to have it!
Hello Biya,

I cannot tell you how long the recovery will be as I just had the surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am starting to feel better, but you should be prepared to expect that there will be a very painful week following surgery, and will definitely need the pain medication they prescribe for you. The hand specialist had me return to his office 2 weeks after surgery to remove stitches. I jokingly said that I knew why they didn't want to see anyone before 2 weeks because their patients would think they jumped from he pan to the fire after the first week. I have a very high pain theshold and was completely taken back by the degree of pain. I had a joint replaced at the base of my big toe about 9 years ago, and that was a cake walk in comparison to this surgery. I am still having a great deal of pain in my inner forearm where the tendon was removed and in my thumb itself as well as the opertion site. My incisions were small. There is about a 1" incision where they removed the bone, and a little over a 1/4" where they cut the tendon (about 2" down from the other incision. I can thankfully say the pain is getting better. I don't want you to be scared over my description of the pain. I only want you to know what to expect afterward. It will feel worse before it feels better. I do have nice mobility in my hand meaning I can touch my thumb to each of my fingers. So I am sure that I will have full function. Healing takes time and patience and some pampering of yourself when you need it. Good Luck with your surgery...I am sure you will be fine.

Sherry
Had my appointment yesterday and surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday (March 9). I will be having the CMC arthroplasty with tendon graft. My doc has been doing this since '85 and has seen it evolve over the years. He used to use pins, now he doesn't. He used to use one long incision from base of thumb to wrist (for tendon graft), now he uses 2 (range of motion issues with the 1 incision). His comment about the joint replacement options was that the tendon graft surgery has been around so long and been so successful that anything new has a hard time getting a foothold. But none of the implants/replacements have really had the complication-free reputation that the tried and true tendon graft method has.

Not to discourage you, Ginadon, from the implant...there may be a reason that you as a typist need the implant. I would be wary of trying something that doesn't have a lot of history behind it. Just my 2 cents. I may be singin' a different tune after my procedure/recovery.
[QUOTE=fayster;4198101]Had my appointment yesterday and surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday (March 9). I will be having the CMC arthroplasty with tendon graft. My doc has been doing this since '85 and has seen it evolve over the years. He used to use pins, now he doesn't. He used to use one long incision from base of thumb to wrist (for tendon graft), now he uses 2 (range of motion issues with the 1 incision). His comment about the joint replacement options was that the tendon graft surgery has been around so long and been so successful that anything new has a hard time getting a foothold. But none of the implants/replacements have really had the complication-free reputation that the tried and true tendon graft method has.

Not to discourage you, Ginadon, from the implant...there may be a reason that you as a typist need the implant. I would be wary of trying something that doesn't have a lot of history behind it. Just my 2 cents. I may be singin' a different tune after my procedure/recovery.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=Biyak123;3773859]I am to have basal joint surgery on my left thumb in three weeks.(Osteoarthritis)
I would like to know how effective surgery was for others and the time of recovery. I do have a pamphlet but would like the opinions of others. Thanks.

Biya,

I would definitely have responded to your post, but I never got it in my email. I had the surgery 14 months ago on my left hand, and would not hesitate to have it on my right if needed. The excruciating pain is gone. I did lose some of my strength, not much, but the trade-off was well worth it to me. I spent about 2 or 3 months in PT and was religious about going and about doing the exercises at home. To get to the point I am at today took about 5 or 6 months from the day of surgery (if I am remembering correctly!). I have full range of motion in my thumb with no pain. For me, the surgery was very, very successful.
[QUOTE=Biyak123;3773859]I am to have basal joint surgery on my left thumb in three weeks.(Osteoarthritis)
I would like to know how effective surgery was for others and the time of recovery. I do have a pamphlet but would like the opinions of others. Thanks.

Biya[/QUOTE]

Hi Biya,

I had the surgery almost 3 years ago. You can read on this thread from a lot of people as the the recovery time and it pretty much is the same for all of us. For me, the worst of the pain after surgery was just the first couple of days. I was back to work within a few days, had a soft cast for a couple weeks then a hard cast for several weeks then a removable cast for several more weeks. My surgery was also due to osteoarthritis. It seems that this is the most common reason for this surgery. It was my left hand and I am right handed which I was grateful for. The surgery was totally worth it in my case because the pain was horrible. I had a bone spur shaped like a shark tooth also the tip of that spur had broken off and was floating in there to add to the pain. I have never regretted having the surgery!!!!!

Take care and let us know how it goes for you. This is a very helpful site with a lot of people who have been there and are there for support!!!

Blessings,
SunnyR
[QUOTE=Biyak123;3773859]I am to have basal joint surgery on my left thumb in three weeks.(Osteoarthritis)
I would like to know how effective surgery was for others and the time of recovery. I do have a pamphlet but would like the opinions of others. Thanks.

Biya[/QUOTE]

I had this surgery done in my right hand due to OA approximately 7 years ago and it was a piece of cake.
finally had to have left thumb done in August and it is worse than before (different doctors) but now he wants to go in a second time and I dont know what to think. Has anyone else had this NOT be successful?
[QUOTE=Nabulangi;4249276]Thanks everyone! Would you believe that they didn't do an xray?! They just looked and felt and checked my strength. I am taking Ibuprofen since it is also an inflammatory and they gave me a splint. They told me to put ice on it as well and we will follow-up in a few weeks if it is still causing pain, etc.

They want me to schedule physical therapy. The one thing that disturbs me though is that the therapist thought that my basal joint was the connection between my wrist and the palm of my hand. :-/[/QUOTE]

Well, It's the connection between your THUMB and the palm of your hand for sure. That's the TRAPEZIUM BONE or the whole CMC
That's why I kept getting spasms in my palmar ligament when It was so bad or I overused my thumb.
I didn't get and x-ray for two years. Frankly, I don't think they can see much until it gets really bad.
My recovery is progressing well. It still aches pretty badly, but I can already feel strength coming back.
I have to keep reminding myself that it's only been a little more than 2 weeks since the surgery!!! Seems like 2 MONTHS!
[QUOTE=SunnyR;4269914]Hi Kassandra,

No, it isn't because you didn't have a cast. I had a bump too. That took a couple of years to go away. Your hand will not look the same as it did before surgery. Your thumb will be pulled a bit toward your palm even when completely healed but not as bad as yours is now. I wish I could post a photo here of my hands now after 3 years. I do have photos of what my hand looked like a few months after surgery too. It gets better with time. I no longer have a visible bump on the back of my hand and I can lay my palm flat on a flat surface which I used to have to smash it down to lay it flat. It takes a couple of years to really heal well and the swelling to go down completely :)

Take heart and hang in there :wave:
Sunny[/QUOTE]

Thanks Sunny. I was afraid the tendon had come loose.
I still have 80 pound grip in my left hand! My chiropractor measured it. But it's getting real painful having to do all the work now.
I'm REALLY grateful I didn't have to have a cast. But I am using a better splint than the one the doc gave which felt like it had nails on the inside! And I use a FLA brace when I sleep to totally immobilize my hand. Those things are great. the best made braces in the world...if you can find and afford them.
I see the doc on Tues. He said that I could begin using my hand a bit more; off and on bracing.
It sure is a tough surgery and such a looooooooong recovery.

Be well :wave:
But it was 5 years for me as well and my thumb had noticeably started shifting inwards toward my palm. I had nothing left between the joints, and even the injections (which were very painful) did nothing to relieve the pain. In fact, I was on vicodin until the surgery because it was so painful. I am thinking, it’s just different doctors and how they feel about the recovery.

I am sorry that you were left with no one to help you thru this. I am sorry the loss of your friend and the loss of those you thought were your friends. I hope you are doing much better now.
[QUOTE=lca8461;4297862]But it was 5 years for me as well and my thumb had noticeably started shifting inwards toward my palm. I had nothing left between the joints, and even the injections (which were very painful) did nothing to relieve the pain. In fact, I was on vicodin until the surgery because it was so painful. I am thinking, itís just different doctors and how they feel about the recovery.

I am sorry that you were left with no one to help you thru this. I am sorry the loss of your friend and the loss of those you thought were your friends. I hope you are doing much better now.[/QUOTE]

I saw my surgeon today. We sorta got into it in a low key way. He was adamant that he had told me all sorts of things that I know he didn't...such as by 3 months I would have 80% function back. and that he had told me my hand would never look the same.
All I remember is him handing me a leaflet on the surgery and making the appointment! That's why I came searching for more info.
and if what I have now is 80%, I'm in BIG trouble.
alot of people talk about the "bump" on their hand. He told me it wouldn't go away; said it was where the tendon wraps around the index finger bone.
I was pretty upset. I sure hope he's wrong.
But he also talked about how people respond differently and that my other hand may not be as much of a problem as my right has been.
I'm going to have to get it done in Nov as it doesn't look like Medicaid is going to be funded after Dec.
Thanks for your kind words. I have found that by putting myself aside and reaching out to others with interest in THEIR problems has helped my attitude alot.
I will always miss my friend, but it's getting a bit easier.
I sure hope that bump goes down.
thanks again,it means alot to me.





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