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Thumb Arthritis Surgery

What is Thumb Arthritis Surgery?

There are a number of surgical procedures that can treat thumb arthritis. These include removing one of the arthritic bones (trapeziectomy), fusing the arthritic joint surfaces together or replacing them with an implant. The different procedures vary in terms of how much strength and movement they restore to the thumb, and how durable they are in response to heavy usage after surgery.


Trapeziectomy is a procedure where the arthritic trapezium bone at the base of the thumb is removed. This procedure is often combined with a suspensionplasty, where some nearby tendon is used to help secure the base of the thumb in the absence of this trapezium bone. Trapeziectomy is very successful at improving both pain and movement of an arthritic thumb.

After Trapeziectomy Surgery

Following trapeziectomy surgery, your thumb and hand will be in a plaster splint. You will generally go home the same day or the next morning. You will need to be seen by a hand therapist to be fitted with a removable splint, which you will need to wear for several weeks. The hand therapist will guide you through the exercises required to safely improve the movement of your thumb following surgery.

At the Melbourne Shoulder and Elbow Centre, Mr Clitherow will evaluate your thumb problem and discuss whether surgery is likely to help you. If it is decided that surgery can help you, he will advise you on the most appropriate type of operation to help manage your specific problem. 

For more information on thumb arthritis surgery, we recommend contacting our surgeons for an initial consultation. 

Surgeons that perform this procedure

Mr Harry Clitherow

Orthopaedic Surgeon

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