4:29 PM May 17, 2022
4:30 PM May 17, 2022
The Ely Hand Clinic, run by Addenbrooke Hospital, now offers an additional type of treatment for patients with arthritis pain in the thumbs.
The clinic opened in October 2021 to allow patients in East Cambridgeshire to be treated closer to home.
The proposed new procedure involves replacing the joint at the base of the thumb with a precision spherical implant made of stainless steel and polyethylene (titanium for patients allergic to nickel).
Although the implant isn’t right for everyone, research shows it can speed up recovery and improve mechanical function in arthritic thumbs.
A suitable patient is Allen Richer, father of two, 57, of Royston, who was treated as a day patient under general anesthetic at the clinic, which is next to the minor injury unit of Princess of Wales Hospital.
Allen said: “I couldn’t believe how quickly it all healed and how pain free I became.
“My wife is also delighted, it saves her from having to constantly open packages, packaging and bottles for me!”
The standard treatment for the condition in the UK is a trapeziectomy, which involves removing the bone at the base of the thumb.
Other treatment options can be as simple as anti-inflammatories or steroid injections.
Allen added: “I’m having similar issues in my other thumb and although I know there’s going to be a bit of a wait, I’m really looking forward to fixing the problem and having no more pain in both hands. ”
The new treatment is performed by plastic surgeons and hand surgeons, Alex Reid and Tereze Laing.
Alex, who runs the clinic, said: “The important thing is to have a full range of treatments available to us so that we can apply the most appropriate to each patient.
“Many clinicians are concerned about the limitations of trapeziectomy, particularly recovery time, variable gains in pinching strength, and difficulties in revising the procedure in the event of a poor outcome.
“However, not all patients are suitable for the prosthesis because ideally the next joint should not be arthritic and the trapezius bone should be large enough for the replacement to sit on.”
Any GP wishing to refer a patient to the clinic should continue to do so in the usual way through the plastic surgery department at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but be careful of Alex or Tereze.