Purpose: Partial trapeziectomy addresses trapeziometacarpal (TM) joint arthritis without the risk of destabilizing the scaphotrapezial (ST) joint. However, partial trapeziectomy has been criticized because of concern that ST joint arthritis will develop, requiring additional surgery. We hypothesized that partial trapeziectomy is a durable treatment for TM joint arthritis, even in patients with radiographically abnormal but asymptomatic ST joints. Methods: We evaluated 13 patients (16 thumbs) who underwent a partial trapeziectomy between 1995 and 2005. Assessment included grip strength, pinch strength, ST joint direct palpation, and ST joint stress testing. We classified standardized radiographs of the ST joint using a simple scoring system. Subjective data included the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire, a pain scale, and a satisfaction survey. Results: The length of follow-up averaged 9 years (range, 5-13 y). No patient had pain at the ST joint with direct palpation or stress testing. Radiographs demonstrated a mean ST joint arthritis score of 1, indicating mild arthritic changes. Mean grip strength was 28 kg on the operated hand and 28 kg on the nonoperated hand. Mean pinch strength was 5 kg on the operated hand and 5 kg on the nonoperated hand. Scores on the pain scale averaged 6 (range, 0-100; 100 = worst). Average Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score was 11 (range, 0-100; 100 = worst). Of 13 patients, 12 were very satisfied or extremely satisfied, and 1 was not satisfied. Conclusions: Partial trapeziectomy for TM joint arthritis provides long-lasting relief of symptoms in patients with radiographically abnormal but clinically insignificant ST joint degeneration. Satisfaction is equivalent to other published series. The radiographic appearance of the ST joint did not correlate with symptoms at this joint. Unless the patient has symptomatic ST joint arthritis, the ST joint may be retained. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine