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Cartiva Implant for the Thumb

What is a Cartiva implant for the Thumb?

Cartiva is a synthetic cartilage implant that can be used for the treatment of carpometacarpal (CMC) joint osteoarthritis of the thumb.

What is Osteoarthritis of the Thumb?

The joint located at the base of the thumb is known as the carpometacarpal joint or CMC joint. It is formed by the metacarpal bone in the palm and the carpal bone in the wrist. When the cartilage lining the bones in the joint deteriorates, the bone surfaces become irregular and rub against each other resulting in pain and inflammation (arthritis). Thumb CMC joint osteoarthritis is the second most common form of hand osteoarthritis that can occur with aging, injury, and overuse and is more common in females. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Thumb?

Thumb CMC osteoarthritis can affect your ability to grasp, grip, or pinch objects. At the joint you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Deformity

What are the Causes Associated with Osteoarthritis of the Thumb?

Osteoarthritis of the thumb may be associated with:

  • Previous injury or trauma 
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Being female
  • Obesity
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Fractures and sprains
  • Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Work-related activities that stress the thumb joints

How is Cartiva Used in the Treatment of Carpometacarpal Joint Osteoarthritis of the Thumb?

Cartiva is a synthetic cartilage implant with physical properties similar to those of articular cartilage with a compressible and low-friction surface. For the procedure, an incision is made above the joint over the base of your thumb near the wrist. The carpometacarpal joint is exposed and the metacarpal and the carpal bones are separated. A hole is then made at the metacarpal end where the Cartiva implant is inserted to replace the damaged cartilage surface. The bones are then reunited and the incision closed. Cartiva provides a new smooth slippery surface to the joint relieving pain and stiffness and improving function.

What are the Risk Factors Related to Cartiva Implantation Surgery?

Risks associated with Cartiva surgery include:

  • Damage to surrounding tissue
  • Bone or joint irritation
  • Bone loss
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Joint stiffness
  • Infection
  • Numbness
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Scarring and delayed healing

What are the Advantages of a Cartiva Implantation?

Some of the benefits associated with Cartiva implantation in the thumb include:

  • Relief from pain associated with osteoarthritis
  • Improvement in range of motion
  • Improvement in hand function and quality of life