The thumb's basal joint is where the metacarpal (longer bone) in the thumb meets the trapezium bone at the base of the thumb in the palm. Injury or arthritis can damage the joint over time, leading to pain and reduction in mobility. Thumb Basal Joint Arthroplasty, or Thumb Basal Joint Reconstruction, can replace part of the problem joint.
Thumb surgery can be complex because of the ligaments involved, especially if the bone degenerates underneath the connection between the three ligaments and the bone.
During surgery, the trapezium bone at the base of the thumb is removed and a replacement cushion is put in its place. Tissue from other parts of the body, such as a piece of tendon, is used to reconnect the thumb and index finger for motions such as pinching and making a fist. However, since the connection is more direct than before, the movement differs slightly after surgery.
In some cases, the surgeon will stabilize the joint by placing a steel pin in the thumb. This will need to be removed later.
After surgery, you must immobilize the thumb for 4-6 weeks while it heals and the tendon connects appropriately to the bones. After that, you will need physical therapy for another 4-6 weeks to get proper movement back into the joint.