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Old 12-16-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
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Question Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

Hello. I am new to this Board, and would appreciate hearing from others who have had CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer. I'm having this procedure done on my left thumb on 3/6/12. I can't schedule any earlier due to an extended trip in January-February.

From my readings of the posts, it sounds like the recuperation period varies. As my job requires me to travel internationally beginning in mid-June, 2012 (three months after surgery), I guess I need to hear if this is a trip is really possible. I am supposed to be in Rome, Italy, for one month. I am most concerned about the airports/luggage transfers, lifting, and carrying (or dragging/bumping) a 50 lb. piece of luggage up stairs to my Rome apartment. I've done this business trip three times previously, and Rome apartments are primitive by U.S. standards...and always on upper floors with no elevators. The month in Rome is busy...lots of walking with students, touring, etc.

What do you all think? Will I be able to do this, realistically? Or should I explain to my boss that he'll have to assign someone else?

Many thanks for your insight.

 
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:29 AM   #2
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Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

Hi mommy k1

I'm 60 year old athletic man excellent shape, hitting the gym for 25 years.
Had LRTI on my left thumb 3 years ago - may do my right thumb in another year as its degenerating a lot.

Recovery -the first week was tough, by 3rd week I returned to work (desk-jocky).

A solid 12 weeks before I could begin stressing it with limited weight bearing tasks......... give it time to let the scar tissue heal. My wrist / forearm tendon was weak & easily overstressed for almost a year.

Pinch strength was about 60% at 10 weeks -- hit 80% at end of first year and I'm still at about 80% which is a great success.

Took about a year to develop a high degree of confidence..... can place my hands flat (push-up position) & stress the tendon & thumb without wincing.

Remember - this surgery /repair is meant to reduce / stop the pain and make daily tasks bearable (I'm cautious about heavy use - heavy lifting swinging a big hammer etc) - it doesn't return things to exactly the way they were before.

I still get a little pain with overuse - but it goes away in a day or two with NSAID. Unlike before the surgery when the pain would set-in and never stop - only decrease in intensity.
Hope this is helpfull - keep looking at google searches & medical studies to get more info. I studied for almost a year before deciding this was the best procedure for me...... there are a handful of different techinques.
good luck
Gil

 
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:12 PM   #3
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Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

[Thanks so much for your good information. I appreciate your taking the time to help me. From your notes, it sounds as if I do have to travel, I'll be using porters and students to help me move the luggage...I think I'll just have to wait and see...and not have the university buy non-refundable tickets to/from Rome. I've undergone rotator cuff surgery with follow-on P.T., and am mentally prepared for a rough post-surgical period with this hand and arm--but as you say, I won't return to the way things were before--but hopefully, without the grinding pain. Once again, thank you very much. I appreciate your and other good advice that may be forthcoming.

 
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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Smile Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

I replied earlier, gil, but don't see it posted...you can tell I'm new to this! I thanked you for your good information and for your taking time to reply. I will plan (or not plan) my travel accordingly...and ask the university not to buy nonrefundable tickets for Rome.

I've been doing a lot of reading and research (just as you suggest) on the planned procedure. I've had some surgeries in the past which I've learned from...fortunately I'm very active and have had P.T., so I know how important it is to do as much (and at the same time, to be smart about it) as possible to speed healing and recovery. If I can golf within a year I'll be thrilled! And to eventually be pain free will be wonderful.

I hope your second surgery goes very well.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and complete notes. They are much appreciated.

Mommyk1

 
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

hi mommy k1 ~
this is my first time visiting this site, and i am unsure if my input will be of any benefit to you, but... i underwent lrti surgery last week (jan 3, 2012). i am so glad to finally be moving in the direction of healing. perhaps it's wishful thinking, but i already notice improvement (less discomfort/pain). for me the first three days post-op were rough, but then each day has been noticibly better.
best of luck to you, and best wishes for a quick recovery.
blessings ~

 
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:22 PM   #6
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Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

Hello Gladyswinkler,

Just a quick note to ask how you are doing...I'm getting all my ducks in a row for my surgery on March 6, and wanted to see how your recovery is progressing. Hope it is going well. Best, mommyk1

 
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:43 PM   #7
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Question Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

Had this same surgery 5/2/2012. I'm two weeks out tomorrow (slow going with the typing still.) Pain is decreasing but I'm surprised at how much I still have.

I'm to go back to work Friday--16 days post op as a special ed teacher. I'm a bit concerned about managing pain and swelling. I'm still on 600mg ibuprofen every 4 hours and prescribed meds at night. Still lots of intermittent swelling where I have to elevate and ice to get it down--does this subside somewhat?

Anyone else have experience with trying to get back to work while recovering? This has turned out to be more extensively disabling in the short term than I thought it would be. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I also have a shop online where sell handmade goods. I've stocked up--but I'm wondering how many months I'll be unable to cut and/or sew--trying to be realistic in planning for the holidays this year

Any advice on what's ahead and what I can expect? I've been looking over old threads,and was hoping for some more current info.

 
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:51 AM   #8
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Talking Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

Hello,

I'm still not 100%, and my surgery was 3/6, and today is 5/16. I can only relate my own experience. I too was very surprised by the length of time it took to become pain free. In fact, I woke up this morning and said "I don't hurt today." I stopped wearing the brace this past weekend. My hand is still a little swollen--but your swelling will diminish week by week. My thumb is sore now and hurts when I do too much. I am just able this week to put on my wedding ring, but still can't get a ring on my pinkie.

I would have not been able to return to work as quickly as you are. I returned part-time five weeks after surgery (office work). Your cast removal (probably at 4-5 weeks) and massaging your hand frequently to push the fluid up the wrist will help reduce the swelling--use a moisturizing cream and rub your fingers (not the thumb) and top of your hand to the extent that it is not uncomfortable to do so. When you are six weeks out, your physician may prescribe physical therapy. I found this helpful, and the exercise regimine will help start you moving the fingers and thumb.

I too was frustrated because I didn't anticipate the complexity of this recovery...nor the pain...but take heart...it will get better. Elevate your hand and arm all the time when sitting. It reduces the swelling. Ice frequently. Take your Advil, etc.--don't skip any doses.

When the pin is removed you'll feel MUCH better!!!! My pin was rubbing on the cast and bandages. It was great (and it didn't hurt) having the pin removed.

I feel (in retrospect) that it was worth having the surgery (even though the recovery is awful) since that grinding, arthritic pain in the thumb is gone...still haven't got more than 60% of the use of the thumb back, (can't open jars or open doors easily) but I've been told it can take a year!!!

Call your doc and get in there if you sense something's not right. I had to go back two days after surgery because the first surgical wrappings were cutting into my arm because my arm and hand had swelled so much..."oh my" was the reaction when they saw my hand! I was black and blue in my arm from the tourniquet they use during surgery. I didn't know that was possible...

Take heart!

Mommyk1

 
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:21 AM   #9
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Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

Thanks MommyK1..

I think I've been overusing my hand...thus the renewed intense pain. I appreciate all of your insights, since you are a couple of months ahead of me in this process

I am worried about going back to work, but I've let my students and co-teacher know that I will be VERY limited in my abilities. The good news is that I'll be in my hard cast until school is out and then I'll have the summer break for more rehab and strengthening. Only three more weeks of school--so, I hope I'll be able to finish out the year.

My husband has been terrific in his patience and assistance in my many needs (I'm super lucky that way.) I'm looking into hiring someone to come in and clean bathrooms, etc. and that should help as well--has anyone had insurance cover any of those expenses?

I've also seen some people recommending a certain pillow, and a hair dryer stand...did anyone else find these items useful?

 
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Talking Re: Recovery Time After CMC arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer

I didn't have a special arm pillow--looked around on line--but before I spent $60 I thought I'd just use two pillows on a table next to my chair (or in bed) to elevate the hand. Worked fine.

I too had great help from my husband; never thought of hiring anyone to do housework...he did it all...so I don't know if insurance would cover it. I imagine a call to your insurance company will provide quick answer...probably no coverage will be my guess.

My only other bit of wisdom is do less than you think you can do...even if you're healing on the outside, you're still very unhealed on the inside...and the thumb/pin/swelling will let you know when they're unhappy! The Physical Therapist said "if it hurts...STOP!".

Mommyk1

 
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