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A Prospective Clinical Trial Comparing Denervation With Suspension Arthroplasty for Treatment of Carpometacarpal Arthritis of the Thumb

Published:February 01, 2023DOI:


      Trapeziectomy with suspensionplasty is the most popular treatment for thumb carpometacarpal arthritis. However, carpometacarpal denervation has recently shown promise as an alternative treatment option. This study was designed to compare functional outcomes, pain reduction, and quality of life between denervation and suspension arthroplasty in patients treated for thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis.


      We conducted a prospective clinical trial between June 2020 and December 2021. Preoperative and postoperative evaluations were conducted on patients, including the evaluation of functional outcomes via the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire, pain with the visual analog score, quality of life with the EuroQol-5D, and the evaluation of time to return to function. Outcomes and complications were compared between patients undergoing denervation versus arthroplasty.


      Forty-eight patients were included in the study, 34 of whom underwent denervation and 14 underwent suspension arthroplasty of the thumb carpometacarpal joint. Patients in the denervation group were younger, with an average age of 59 years compared with 67 years in the arthroplasty group. All other patient characteristics were similar. Pain reduction, functional outcomes, and quality of life scores showed equal improvement in both groups. Denervation patients had a reduced time to return to function (3.3 weeks vs 4.5 months in the arthroplasty group).


      Carpometacarpal denervation appears to provide similar short-term outcomes as suspension arthroplasty for the treatment of thumb carpometacarpal arthritis. Treatment with denervation may offer a quicker return to function. The long-term outcomes of denervation remain unknown.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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