Tags: hand | arthritis | implant | pain

New Implant Ends Painful Arthritis in Hands

New Implant Ends Painful Arthritis in Hands
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By    |   Tuesday, 11 December 2018 09:59 AM

A new technique can alleviate painful osteoarthritis of the thumb. It’s a tiny implant that looks and feels like a jellybean and is currently undergoing clinical trials to see how well it performs in reducing the pain and debilitation of osteoarthritis in the hand.

This common and very uncomfortable condition affects more than 20 million U.S. adults including an estimated one-fourth of post-menopausal women. It’s also known as basal joint arthritis of the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint and causes pain, swelling, instability, deformity and loss of motion. The condition makes it difficult to perform even the most basic tasks such as turning a door knob or opening a jar.

Current surgical options for late-stage patients who have failed more conservative treatment include joint fusion and arthroplasty, the surgical reconstruction or replacement of a joint.

Now, researchers have begun trials on the Cartiva implant which scientists claim can improve joint mobility and strength after a simple, 30-minute procedure.

In preliminary trials conducted in Canada and the U.K., the average pain reduction for patients after the procedure was 68 percent compared to 49 percent for much more complicated surgical procedures.

Cartiva patients also saw significant improvement in hand strength, grip strength and pinch strength.

The Cartiva implant resembles a tiny jellybean and is implanted in the thumb joint. It is made of the same material as disposable contact lenses. The “jelly bean” doesn’t replace the thumb joint but sits between the ends of the thumb bones, acting like a cushion. As it stops the bones coming into contact with each other, the thumb can move freely again without pain.

Previously, patients with severe hand arthritis were offered joint fusion, called arthrodesis, which is a procedure that fuses the two bones together that make the painful arthritic joint using metal plates, screws or wires. Another option has been arthroplasty, or the replacement of the joint.

The recovery for these procedures can take months and patients may lose their ability to move the thumb freely, although the pain and swelling are reduced.

Implantation of the new, one-centimeter Cartiva device tales less than an hour and involves one incision, a few inches long to expose the joint. Damaged cartilage is removed and the Cartiva is inserted into the base of the thumb.

“Overall the results are exciting,” says Philip Sauv√©, an orthopedic surgeon at Queen Alexandra Hospital in England, one of the trial sites.

“After surgery patients have less pain, an improved range of movement, and also an increase in their grip and pinch strength by more than 100 percent,” he says. “This makes activities such as turning a key or picking up an object between the thumb and index finger much more comfortable.

“Rehabilitation involves wearing a splint for two to four weeks following the surgery but patients can drive again after six to eight weeks. Full potential is reached after six months.”

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A new technique can alleviate painful osteoarthritis of the thumb. It's a tiny implant that looks and feels like a jellybean and is currently undergoing clinical trials to see how well it performs in reducing the pain and debilitation of osteoarthritis in the hand.
hand, arthritis, implant, pain
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2018-59-11
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 09:59 AM
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