Original Communications| Volume 25, ISSUE 2, P297-304, March 2000

Long-term results of volar ligament reconstruction for symptomatic basal joint laxity


      It has been hypothesized that instability of the thumb trapeziometacarpal joint is a major factor in the etiology of degenerative disease. Theoretically, surgically stabilized joints should be subject to less shear force and, hence, will be less likely to develop degenerative changes. The long-term results of volar ligament reconstruction were assessed in 19 patients (24 thumbs). The average age at surgery was 33 years (range, 18–55 years). Twenty-three thumbs were radiographic stage I; a preoperative x-ray was not available in 1. The follow-up period averaged 15 years (range, 10–23 years). At the final follow-up visit 15 thumbs were stage I, 7 were stage II, and 2 were stage III. Fifteen patients were at least 90% satisfied with the results of the surgery. Only 8% of thumbs advanced to radiographic arthritic disease, which compares favorably with the 17% to 33% reported incidence of stage III/IV basal joint arthritis in the general population. (J Hand Surg 2000;25A:297–304. Copyright © 2000 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.)


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