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Old 12-01-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

I am scheduled for surgery on my basal thumb surgery on December 6 and I am having doubts: not sure if I should go ahead and have surgery or wait until the pain increases. The arthritis is severe. The pain is severe only occasionally and mostly aches; today hurting more than yesterday. I do have limited use of my thumb, relying on my next joint to do the work. One surgeon says I need to do it soon and another surgeon says that it depends on my pain level. The surgery would be a trapeziectomy and pinning of the joint.

I am open to all feedback and your experience. Please...

 
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:20 PM   #2
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

You have a difficult decision to make! Were both doctors you saw orthopedic surgeons? My GP was of the opinion that with osteoarthritis I needed to "use it or lose it". So I kept using my thumbs for years. When I finally saw an orthopedic doctor for bilateral carpal tunnel, he was concerned with the condition of my thumbs and sent me to a hand surgeon. The hand surgeon took x-rays and when he saw the condition of my thumbs, he wouldn't attempt to fix them and sent me to a more experienced surgeon in the practice. The new surgeon questioned how I was able to wait so long to come in. Because of the carpal tunnel, my hands were numb a lot of the time. I thought the sore thumbs were due to the carpal tunnel...and of course my GP was still telling me to "use it or lose it". Anyway, I ended up having carpal tunnel and basal thumb surgery on both hands. Because I let my thumbs go so long, they were covered with bone spurs. That just added to the time the surgery took because he had to remove them all. You could see the spurs covering my hands in the x-ray, plus the thumb joints were bone on bone and on one hand the bone was even starting to shift off to the side. All that because I listened to my GP even tho my hands were telling me different.

It's not an easy surgery and recovery is so long. Do you have the time right now that you are going to need to recover? Luckily, I retired before I had the surgery so that wasn't an issue. I am still going to physical therapy for the surgery I had in June. I'm not dealing with pain, it's the frustration I have because of the stiffness. I'm just now getting the flexion I need in my wrist. The hand I had done in February is pretty good ...but it's been nearly 11 months. I've heard from some people that recover faster than a year, but 12 months seems to be the norm. I don't recommend putting it off too long, the harder the surgery, the longer the recovery. Best of luck to you! There are so many people on this board that have had this surgery. You can probably get any quesrtion you want answered!
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gingertea View Post
You have a difficult decision to make! Were both doctors you saw orthopedic surgeons? My GP was of the opinion that with osteoarthritis I needed to "use it or lose it". So I kept using my thumbs for years. When I finally saw an orthopedic doctor for bilateral carpal tunnel, he was concerned with the condition of my thumbs and sent me to a hand surgeon. The hand surgeon took x-rays and when he saw the condition of my thumbs, he wouldn't attempt to fix them and sent me to a more experienced surgeon in the practice. The new surgeon questioned how I was able to wait so long to come in. Because of the carpal tunnel, my hands were numb a lot of the time. I thought the sore thumbs were due to the carpal tunnel...and of course my GP was still telling me to "use it or lose it". Anyway, I ended up having carpal tunnel and basal thumb surgery on both hands. Because I let my thumbs go so long, they were covered with bone spurs. That just added to the time the surgery took because he had to remove them all. You could see the spurs covering my hands in the x-ray, plus the thumb joints were bone on bone and on one hand the bone was even starting to shift off to the side. All that because I listened to my GP even tho my hands were telling me different.

It's not an easy surgery and recovery is so long. Do you have the time right now that you are going to need to recover? Luckily, I retired before I had the surgery so that wasn't an issue. I am still going to physical therapy for the surgery I had in June. I'm not dealing with pain, it's the frustration I have because of the stiffness. I'm just now getting the flexion I need in my wrist. The hand I had done in February is pretty good ...but it's been nearly 11 months. I've heard from some people that recover faster than a year, but 12 months seems to be the norm. I don't recommend putting it off too long, the harder the surgery, the longer the recovery. Best of luck to you! There are so many people on this board that have had this surgery. You can probably get any quesrtion you want answered!
Hi Ginger Tea. It is good to hear your experience. I have come to the conclusion that my arthritis can only get worse without the surgery. My thumb has already slid down out of the saddle of joint because of the deterioration of the trapezium. Your story is encouraging. Thank you. <3
Lisa

 
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:21 AM   #4
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Sweet heart,
any surgery is a surgery; never easy for sure. But if you know deep down in your heart that you done your homework, that you saw as many opinions as you can (extremely important), you sure you can't live without this surgery (surgery is always the last thing we go for) - than you must do what is right.
I would never go for any surgery without seeing couple good doctors from different areas (not a good idea to go see doctors who know each other), so I hope you done it.

If you do your surgery, I wish you all the luck and will pray for a good outcome. If you can't live without helping your problem, what kind life is that? We all having this done to improve our life quality, right? So go with that.

Hugs and best wishes
Moldova

 
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moldova View Post
Sweet heart,
any surgery is a surgery; never easy for sure. But if you know deep down in your heart that you done your homework, that you saw as many opinions as you can (extremely important), you sure you can't live without this surgery (surgery is always the last thing we go for) - than you must do what is right.
I would never go for any surgery without seeing couple good doctors from different areas (not a good idea to go see doctors who know each other), so I hope you done it.

If you do your surgery, I wish you all the luck and will pray for a good outcome. If you can't live without helping your problem, what kind life is that? We all having this done to improve our life quality, right? So go with that.

Hugs and best wishes
Moldova
Hi Moldova,
I'd just like to tell you, your post is full of heartwarming words.
I have had this very successful surgery on my left hand & will soon have it on my right hand.
Best wishes to you Moldova.
Hugs,
Haydena.

Last edited by Haydena; 12-03-2012 at 09:48 AM.

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:04 AM   #6
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Smile Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

I'm new here but just wanted to wish you luck. I had the surgery on my left hand in June and am having some issues but much less pain.

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:46 AM   #7
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

thanks so much all thumbs! glad you are having less pain, but what kind of issues are you having? hope you improve quickly!
lisa

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:26 PM   #8
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Hello one and all. I am four weeks post-op from my second basal joint replacement surgery. I had my left thumb operated on in July 2011, and on November 6 my right thumb was done. I had a tendon harvested from each arm, and the rolled up tendon was inserted into the space where the orthopedic doc removed the trapezium bone. I think I am doing fantastically well. After my first surgery, I was knitting in the waiting room for my final appointment post-op in September 2011. Both times the doctor told me, in the recovery room, that I'd certainly made the right decision to have surgery because the arthritis was very severe. With arthritis there is no magical mending that occurs. It just deteriorates more and more. You do yourself no favors by postponing or avoiding surgery. If you can afford it and have good support at home post-op, I strongly encourage you to go ahead with the surgery. You will be so thankful that you did! I'm anticipating a knee replacement (arthritis! What else?!) next year sometime in my left leg. Once that is complete I'm hoping I can stop taking Celebrex. I am guessing by now you've already made your choice, and I wish you much luck and tremendously good health from this day forward!

Cheers,
Dorothy

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yayagoldie View Post
I am scheduled for surgery on my basal thumb surgery on December 6 and I am having doubts: not sure if I should go ahead and have surgery or wait until the pain increases. The arthritis is severe. The pain is severe only occasionally and mostly aches; today hurting more than yesterday. I do have limited use of my thumb, relying on my next joint to do the work. One surgeon says I need to do it soon and another surgeon says that it depends on my pain level. The surgery would be a trapeziectomy and pinning of the joint.

I am open to all feedback and your experience. Please...
Good luck for your surgery on 6.Dec. Yayagoldie. Do let us know how you are doing as soon as you can.

Haydena.

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #10
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioQuilter View Post
Hello one and all. I am four weeks post-op from my second basal joint replacement surgery. I had my left thumb operated on in July 2011, and on November 6 my right thumb was done. I had a tendon harvested from each arm, and the rolled up tendon was inserted into the space where the orthopedic doc removed the trapezium bone. I think I am doing fantastically well. After my first surgery, I was knitting in the waiting room for my final appointment post-op in September 2011. Both times the doctor told me, in the recovery room, that I'd certainly made the right decision to have surgery because the arthritis was very severe. With arthritis there is no magical mending that occurs. It just deteriorates more and more. You do yourself no favors by postponing or avoiding surgery. If you can afford it and have good support at home post-op, I strongly encourage you to go ahead with the surgery. You will be so thankful that you did! I'm anticipating a knee replacement (arthritis! What else?!) next year sometime in my left leg. Once that is complete I'm hoping I can stop taking Celebrex. I am guessing by now you've already made your choice, and I wish you much luck and tremendously good health from this day forward!

Cheers,
Dorothy
Dorothy. It sounds like you are healing wonderfully on both thumbs. Congratulations! I appreciate your response and encouragement. i have made my choice but still having some reservations: mostly wondering if the doctor is a good choice... still wondering if i have chosen the right surgeon.
I do feel that surgery is my only option at this point. What did you do for occupational/hand therapy?

thanks.
lisa

 
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:30 PM   #11
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Thanks Haydena! I will come back with my results as soon as i can.
lisa

 
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioQuilter View Post
Hello one and all. I am four weeks post-op from my second basal joint replacement surgery. I had my left thumb operated on in July 2011, and on November 6 my right thumb was done. I had a tendon harvested from each arm, and the rolled up tendon was inserted into the space where the orthopedic doc removed the trapezium bone. I think I am doing fantastically well. After my first surgery, I was knitting in the waiting room for my final appointment post-op in September 2011. Both times the doctor told me, in the recovery room, that I'd certainly made the right decision to have surgery because the arthritis was very severe. With arthritis there is no magical mending that occurs. It just deteriorates more and more. You do yourself no favors by postponing or avoiding surgery. If you can afford it and have good support at home post-op, I strongly encourage you to go ahead with the surgery. You will be so thankful that you did! I'm anticipating a knee replacement (arthritis! What else?!) next year sometime in my left leg. Once that is complete I'm hoping I can stop taking Celebrex. I am guessing by now you've already made your choice, and I wish you much luck and tremendously good health from this day forward!

Cheers,
Dorothy
Hi Dorothy,
Good to hear from you after your surgery on your left thumb. I am pleased you are recovering so well. I remember your posts from July 2011. You kind of vanished from here after your right hand was ''fixed''
I had the exact same surgery that you had on my left thumb/wrist in May 2011. I healed well & fast. I am due to have the same surgery on my right thumb/wrist in January or February as I am have a considerable amount of pain which will not improve.
Continue your fantastic progress & take good care.
Haydena.

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:24 PM   #13
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

I assume you mean what did I do for therapy before surgery. I really didn't do anything. I'd had the cortisone shots into my thumb joints for at least 6 or 7 years. Eventually I didn't get any benefit from the shots. Icing my hands, resting them when they throbbed, etc. were the way I dealt with the pain. I have read that it's not really "encouraged" to use your hands for knitting, quilting, etc. because they might do more harm than good. But for me, if I was using my hands for those purposes, psychologically it gave me a huge boost to know I was accomplishing something. And if my hands hurt I simply would not do those things. I felt like those were a kind of therapy for me, and I loved giving away things I'd made with my own hands!

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:26 PM   #14
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Actually I had my left hand done last year - right hand was just four weeks ago! You're right - I did sort of "vanish" - but since I didn't really have anything to contribute I didn't post anything. I'd read lots of comments here, and only chime in once in a blue moon!

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: Scheduled for Basal joint arthroplasty and having doubts now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioQuilter View Post
I assume you mean what did I do for therapy before surgery. I really didn't do anything. I'd had the cortisone shots into my thumb joints for at least 6 or 7 years. Eventually I didn't get any benefit from the shots. Icing my hands, resting them when they throbbed, etc. were the way I dealt with the pain. I have read that it's not really "encouraged" to use your hands for knitting, quilting, etc. because they might do more harm than good. But for me, if I was using my hands for those purposes, psychologically it gave me a huge boost to know I was accomplishing something. And if my hands hurt I simply would not do those things. I felt like those were a kind of therapy for me, and I loved giving away things I'd made with my own hands!
Actually I think Lisa is asking what kind of physical therapy you, Dorothy, had after your surgery.

Lisa, as tomorrow is your surgery date, you may only get to read this after the surgery.

Once the cast or splint is taken off your hand, you will start physical therapy. Your surgeon will recommend a therapist for you. It's usually a once a week appointment of anything from 1/2 an hour to 1 hour where you will be given excercises to do with your hand & thumb.

I can give you a great tip of placing all your hand in a large bowel of warm water & gently moving your wrist & fingers. I did this every day for about 5-8 minutes.

It is also very good for you to rub any kind of good quality hand cream onto your hand as it hydrates the skin (which has been covered for some time with a cast or splint)

Remember we all heal differently & at our own pace, so please dont push yourself, go slow & be patient with yourself & your recovery time.

For bruising & swelling I suggest you buy the homeopathic ointment, cream, called Arnica. Try looking for ''Traumeel'' made by Heel of Germany. This is excellent. The main ingredient in Traumeel is Arnica which is a natural healing agent. If you cant find ''Traumeel" then look for ''Arnica''

3rd tip for you is to sleep with your arm raised (above your heart) on pillows.
This enables the blood to flow back to your heart & reduces swelling.
You should have your arm raised for most of the time whilst you are not asleep.

If you have any pain,besides taking pain meds, use an ice pack. Take care to have a cover on your ice pack whilst it is in use. I advise you to have 2 ice packs, whilst you are using 1, the other should be in the freezer.

Be a good girl & dont use your hand for anything until you are told, that you can, by your surgeon or your physical therapist.

If you have any further questions, dont hesitate to ask. Wishing you all the very best for a successful operation.

Haydena.

Last edited by Haydena; 12-05-2012 at 12:50 PM.

 
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