A post-menopausal patient with bilateral primary osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint (CMCJ) was treated by 2 different surgical techniques. The non-dominant left CMCJ was arthrodesed in 1992 while excision of trapezium and tendon suspensionplasty was done for the dominant right side in 1997. She reported good pain relief with both procedures and she was able to fully oppose both thumbs at 6 years after arthrodesis and 1 year after arthroplasty. The grip and pinch strength was stronger on the arthrodesed side while hand function tests revealed the arthroplasty side to be more dexterous. Subjectively, she preferred the right thumb. Radiographs showed no peri trapezial arthritis in the arthrodesed CMCJ and no proximal migration of the metacarpal on the reconstructed side. Both procedures offered excellent relief of symptoms and she was able to return to work as a machine operator.
The carpometacarpal joint (CMCJ) of the thumb is commonly afflicted with degenerative arthritis. Of the patients seeking surgical treatment, post-menopausal women outnumber men by a ratio of 15 to 1.
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