First Carpometacarpal Joint Denervation: A Systematic Review

Published:September 08, 2021DOI:


      The first carpometacarpal (CMC) joint is a frequent location of osteoarthritis in the hand. The denervation of the first CMC joint has gained traction as a viable treatment for CMC arthritis. This study reviewed literature on CMC denervation for first CMC arthritis.


      A systematic review of papers and abstracts was conducted. The preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines were followed. Articles including the results of CMC denervation were included. We compiled data on patient demographics, preoperative testing, intraoperative technique, and postoperative outcomes. Anatomic literature was also reviewed to assess agreement on the innervation of the first CMC joint.


      Six anatomic studies and 9 clinical studies were included in this systematic review. Pinch strength, grip strength, and Kapandji scores increased on average in patients. Pain relief was noted on average in patients in 5 studies that reported pain outcomes. In studies that reported postoperative complications, the most frequent complications were radial paresthesias, hypoesthesia dorsal and/or distal to the surgical site, and wound infection.


      The innervation of the CMC joint is controversial. This is reflected in clinical practice, wherein varied surgical approaches are used. Carpometacarpal denervation shows promise as an option to treat patients with CMC arthritis without joint instability, but its results vary. Additional clinical studies with longer-term follow-up and control groups are necessary to better determine its longevity and efficacy.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic V.

      Key words

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