Trapeziectomy Surgery: All You Need to Know

Are you experiencing pain and discomfort in your thumb joint? Does it make simple tasks like gripping objects or even brushing your teeth a challenge? If so, you may be suffering from basal joint arthritis. While various treatment options are available, one surgical procedure that is commonly recommended is trapeziectomy.

In this blog, we will cover all the essential information that you need to know about trapeziectomy surgery, including what it is and why it may be necessary to address its risks and recovery process. So, if you're considering this procedure or want to learn more, keep reading for everything you need to know about trapeziectomy surgery.

What is Trapeziectomy Surgery?

Trapeziectomy surgery is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the trapezium bone from the base of the thumb. The trapezium bone supports the thumb and allows for its movement. 

When this bone is removed, the thumb bones no longer rub together, relieving pain and improving mobility. This surgery is typically recommended for patients who have tried non-surgical treatments, such as medication and splints but have not found relief from their symptoms.

What are the Steps of Trapeziectomy Surgery?

Trapeziectomy surgery is performed under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is asleep and won't feel any pain during the procedure. Once the anesthesia is administered, the surgeon makes a small incision on the side of the wrist and removes the trapezium bone. 

The surgeon then reshapes the joint surface and may use a tendon from the forearm to create a cushion between the remaining bones. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches, and a bandage is applied.

How to Prepare for a Trapeziectomy Surgery?

While trapeziectomy surgery can significantly improve a person's quality of life, it is essential to be well-prepared. Let’s discuss how to prepare for a trapeziectomy surgery and some tips to aid recovery.

Your doctor will assess your condition and determine if this surgery is best for you. This is also an opportunity to ask questions about the procedure, recovery, and potential risks. Being open and honest with your doctor about any pre-existing health conditions or medications you are taking is essential.

Your doctor will explain the specific details of your surgery, such as the type of anesthesia, incision size, and expected recovery time. This will help alleviate any anxiety or fear you may have and allow you to prepare for the procedure mentally.

Make arrangements for your recovery before the surgery. After the surgery, you will likely need someone to drive you home and assist with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and personal care. Taking time off work is recommended to allow your body to heal correctly.

Your doctor may provide you with specific pre-surgery instructions. These can include avoiding certain medications, fasting before the surgery, and stopping smoking. It is crucial to follow these instructions to ensure a successful surgery and reduce the risk of complications.

After the surgery, you need a safe and comfortable recovery space. This may require adjusting your home, such as creating a bedroom on the main floor if you typically sleep upstairs or modifying your bathroom to accommodate your limited mobility. Preparing your home before the surgery is best to avoid potential hazards or difficulties during your recovery.

You may be unable to drive or do strenuous activities for a few weeks after the surgery, so stocking up on supplies beforehand is essential. This can include groceries, household essentials, and any necessary medical aids, such as a wrist brace or sling.

It is expected to experience pain and discomfort after the trapeziectomy surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications to help manage your discomfort. It is also helpful to have someone who can assist you with taking your pills on schedule and refilling prescriptions if needed.

After the surgery, your doctor will provide specific post-operative instructions. These may include keeping the surgical incision clean and dry, avoiding strenuous activities, and following a rehabilitation plan which are crucial for a successful recovery.

What Not to Do After a Trapeziectomy Surgery?

While the surgery often relieves pain and improves function, patients must adequately care for their hands during recovery. Here are the top things you should avoid doing after a trapeziectomy surgery to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

If you’re searching for a reputable clinic specializing in hand surgery in Boynton Beach, our team of qualified and experienced surgeons  at OSA Orthopaedics is dedicated to providing quality care and treatment for hand injuries, conditions, and disorders.

How long does a Trapeziectomy take to heal?

The length of time it takes to recover from a trapeziectomy varies from person to person. Generally, the initial recovery period can take 4 to 12 weeks. However, it may take up to 6 months to fully recover and return to sports or heavy lifting activities. 

Age, overall health, and adherence to rehabilitation exercises can also affect healing time. Following your doctor's post-surgery instructions is essential to ensure a successful recovery.

What are the long-term complications of Trapeziectomy?

While this procedure can provide relief for those suffering from this condition, there are some potential long-term complications that patients should be aware of.

One of the main complications that can arise is joint stiffness. This can occur due to scar tissue forming around the surgical site, leading to limited movement and decreased hand function. Physical therapy and specific exercises can help prevent or reduce stiffness, but it may take several months to recover fully.

Another potential complication is the development of post-surgery pain. While the procedure itself can alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis, some patients may experience discomfort or sensitivity around the surgical area during the healing process. This can usually be managed with medication and proper wound care.

In rare cases, nerve damage can occur after a trapeziectomy. This can result in numbness or weakness in the thumb and surrounding fingers. This condition will likely improve, but you must inform your doctor if you experience persistent nerve-related symptoms.

Discover the Road to a Pain-Free Life at OSA Orthopaedics

If you are experiencing constant pain in your hands and wrists, we highly encourage you to visit the team of experienced orthopedic surgeons at OSA Orthopaedics. At OSA Orthopaedics, we understand the physical and emotional toll that chronic hand and wrist pain can have on your daily life. That's why we offer personalized and compassionate care to help you regain your independence and quality of life. 

In addition to performing trapeziectomy surgery, we provide top-notch care and assistance in:

You can visit us at one of our conveniently located clinics near you:

Don't let hand and wrist pain hold you back. Contact us today to schedule your trapezoidectomy surgery and take the first step towards a pain-free life. Trust us to be your partner in restoring your hand function and independence. Book your consultation now and experience the OSA difference!


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


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