Trapeziectomy (for osteoarthritis)

Your trapezium is a cube-shaped bone at the base of your thumb that joins your wrist to your thumb. Osteoarthritis of the trapezium is a painful and restricting condition where the cover on the cartilage has worn away, exposing the bone and causing pain, immobility and lack of strength.


A splint or steroid injection may help to relieve the pain but a surgical procedure called a trapeziectomy is the most reliable way of treating your condition and giving you back proper use in your hand.

During your operation, which will use one of several anaesthetic options and will take between 60 and 90 minutes, your surgeon will make a small cut in the back of your hand, at the base of the thumb, to remove your trapezium. To fasten your thumb to your wrist, they will usually form a new ligament from the tendon that runs across the trapezium.


You will usually return home on the same day, although your hand must be kept raised for two weeks. Your bandage or plaster will be removed four to six weeks later. Gentle thumb and finger exercises will help to ensure a speedy recovery and elbow and shoulder exercises will also help to keep you flexible, although do check with your consultant first.


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. 

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Trapeziectomy (for osteoarthritis) Consultants

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