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J Hand Surg Am. 2009 Jul-Aug;34(6):1021-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2009.03.016.

Long-term follow-up of basal joint resection arthroplasty of the thumb with transfer of the abductor pollicis brevis origin to the flexor carpi radialis tendon.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.



To investigate the long-term functional and clinical outcomes of a tendon transfer during basal joint interposition arthroplasty for osteoarthritis of the basal joint of the thumb, in which the origin of the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) and opponens pollicis is transferred to the flexor carpi radialis tendon, in order to increase the abduction moment arm of the thumb and provide dynamic stabilization of the base of the first metacarpal.


We observed 22 patients, who received basal joint interposition arthroplasty with APB and opponens pollicis tendon transfer, over an average of 9 years (range, 3-20 years). Subjective outcome measures included patient satisfaction scores, visual analog scale scores for pain, and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) scores. Clinical evaluations included thumb range of motion, grip strength, and pinch strength.


At an average follow-up of 9 years, 95% of patients (21 out of 22) subjectively scored the procedure as good or excellent and reported improvement in activities of daily living. Mean visual analog scale pain score was 4.4 at rest and 7.8 with activity (out of 100), and mean DASH score was 13.3 (out of 100). Average grip strength of the operated hand was equal to that of the contralateral hand, and lateral and tip pinch strengths were 79% and 93%, respectively, of the contralateral hand. No intraoperative or early postoperative complications were reported, although 1 patient whose procedure was performed as treatment for failed silastic arthroplasty reported metacarpal instability at 9-year follow-up (DASH score of 22).


Basal joint arthroplasty with APB and opponens pollicis tendon transfers provides excellent long-term results for carpometacarpal thumb osteoarthritis. The procedure is safe, with a low complication rate. Its success has long-term durability as measured by patient satisfaction, functional outcome measures, range of motion, and strength.


Therapeutic IV.

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