Arthritis Surgery

Arthritis Treatment & Surgery

Improve function with and without surgery

There are some uncommon conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which cause damage to joints, tendons, and ligaments at a fairly young age. Usually the approach in these conditions is to prevent the damage with medication and also sometimes surgery when the medication is not effective. The damage is usually caused by an inflammatory process. If this cannot be controlled medically, surgically removing the synovium which is usually the inflamed tissue is often very helpful in controlling the disease. Other procedures are used to reconstruct damaged or destroyed tissues in these conditions.

More commonly there is gradual wear and tear on the joints as we get older. Sometimes this is not a problem and one adapts to the “aches and pains” without any need for medical intervention. There are some areas however that are more prone to being problematic. One of these areas is the base of the thumb. Since when we grasp with the thumb the full load and pressure is transmitted through the base of the thumb the carpal metacarpal joint commonly wears out. This is often accelerated by injuries that injure stabilizing ligaments in this area. Often splinting techniques are effective in relieving discomfort and improving function. When this is not enough, there are very good surgical procedures to reconstruct the stabilizing ligaments and provide replacement of the joint with one’s own soft tissues. (Autogenous collagen arthroplasty). This operation is often known as the “anchovy procedure”, because part of a tendon that is borrowed to reconstruct the joint is rolled up in a fashion similar to that of an anchovy.

Another area where arthritis is very common is in the small joints in the fingers. Although sometimes synthetic joints can be used to replace the damage joints more often it is better to stabilize the joint by fusing it and making it stiff completely which provides pain-free stable fingers.

If you have any questions about these conditions or would like to find out if you are a candidate for any of these procedures please contact our office to set up a consultation.