Joint-replacement surgery refers to the procedure to replace a destroyed or damaged joint with an artificial joint. Usually, the joint is made out of metal, plastic or silicon. Joint-replacement surgery, also referred to as joint arthroplasty is very common, and is most commonly used in the larger joints such as the hip or knee.
Small-joint arthroplasty, namely for fingers, and wrist-replacement surgery have been performed with increasing numbers.
Studies have been promising, especially with improved metallic alloys such as cobalt chromium.
The advantage of artificial joint replacement in thehand, wrist or finger is that the patient is able to maintain range of motion with reduced pain.
As mentioned previously, joint arthroplasty is indicated in damaged or destroyed joints. This may be due to degeneration or as a result of previous injury (Figures A and B).
With the increasing prevalence of inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout, and the affluent lifestyles adopted by many, painful, swollen joints as a result of joint cartilage degeneration are a common occurrence. In these situations, joint arthroplasty will be beneficial, as it reduces pain and improves or at least maintains the range of motion.
Materials used for finger-joint implants can range from silicon to various synthetic plastic and metal alloys (Figure C). The material and implant used depends on the underlying pathology, combined with various factors such as the joint involved, patient requirements and surgical expertise available.
Finger-joint replacement implants are now available for all finger joints, namely:
For the wrist arthroplasty, various implant modules have been used as well:
If you would like to learn more about the treatment and the possible outcomes, feel free to inquire here.