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What happens during a trapeziectomy?

A trapeziectomy takes between 60 and 90 minutes. Your arm may be numbed using a regional anaesthetic or a general anaesthetic may be used. Your surgeon will make a small cut on the back of your hand at the base of your thumb, and remove your trapezium. They may construct a ligament to connect the thumb to your wrist using a tendon that runs over the trapezium. 

Your surgeon will close your skin with stitches. You will have a bandage or plaster cast on your hand. To help reduce any swelling it is important to keep your hand elevated (raised) above your heart using a sling or pillow. Gentle movement of your fingers will prevent them from becoming stiff.

Going home after a trapeziectomy

You may be allowed to go home the day of your surgery.  You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home on the day of discharge.

Continue to take any pain relief medication as needed. After 2 weeks any stitches or staples will be removed. You may be given a lighter splint to protect your thumb but allow you to begin to use your hand.

Once your surgical wound is healed it is safe to get your hand wet. Be sure and dry you hand well before reapplying any bandage or splint. You may need to wear your splint for up to 6 weeks.

After 4 weeks you may be given gentle exercises for your thumb and fingers to help regain strength in your hand.

Discuss resuming driving and any return to work with your surgeon. Recovery to full function may take 6 months or longer.

Most people make a good recovery from a trapeziectomy. As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
Specific complications of a trapeziectomy may include:
  • Numbness or pain caused by nerve damage
  • Continued pain or weakness.
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 303336
Overall rating Outstanding

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good

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