Trapeziometacarpal Joint Arthritis: Is Duration of Symptoms a Predictor of Surgical Outcomes?

Marissa E. Baca, Tamara D. Rozental, Kelly McFarlane, Matthew J. Hall, Peter J. Ostergaard, Carl M. Harper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Great effort has been placed on determining the optimal surgical treatment for trapeziometacarpal joint arthritis (TMA). However, a paucity of literature exists concerning the optimal timing of surgical intervention. We hypothesized that an increased duration of TMA symptoms before operative intervention would negatively affect surgical outcomes. Methods: We performed a retrospective review on 109 adult patients with 121 joints with symptomatic TMA treated with trapeziectomy and ligament reconstruction with tendon interposition (LRTI) from 2006 to 2017. Outcome measures included Quick–Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (QuickDASH) score, complication rates, and surgical revision rates. Results: Among 109 patients, average QuickDASH score at initial presentation was 41.1 ± 17.9. Patients had symptoms of TMA for an average of 3.2 years (median, 2.1 years) before undergoing operative intervention. Patients were divided into 2 groups: those with symptoms less than 2 years and those with symptoms greater than 2 years. Patients who underwent LRTI after less than 2 years of symptoms achieved a significantly greater degree of improvement in the QuickDASH score compared with patients with symptoms greater than 2 years (26.2 vs 5.3). Conclusions: Patients with less than 2 years of symptomatic TMA before LRTI can expect the greatest improvement in patient-reported disability impairment compared with those with more than 2 years of symptoms. This can be used to counsel patients regarding the optimal timing of surgery if nonsurgical treatment has failed to provide durable symptomatic relief. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184.e1-1184.e7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Basal joint arthritis
  • carpometacarpal osteoarthritis
  • symptom duration
  • thumb CMC arthroplasty
  • trapeziectomy with ligament reconstruction tendon interposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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