ANSWERS: 2
  • I had a trapeziectomy on 3rd July and found I could do a lot of things one handed such as cook breakfast, make my own lunch and do washing and ironing. My husband had a week off work and made dinner each day. After that he cooked dinner but I did most of the preparation. I can use my fingers for light tasks such as steadying the loaf while I cut it but you are not supposed to use the thumb at all for at least 4 weeks which is when I will start physiotherapy.
  • 1) "If you come to the pre assessment clinic prior to your operation, you will usually meet the physiotherapist, who will test your range of movement and strength in the hand prior to the surgery. As a result of the operation, there will be a scar over the base of the thumb. Stitches are often dissolvable but if they are not, they will be removed two weeks after surgery. You will return from theatre in a splint which is moulded to your hand in theatre and held in place by a crepe bandage. This will stay in place for two weeks following your operation. When you go home, your hand will be elevated in a sling and you will be encouraged to keep your hand up to prevent swelling and stiffness of the fingers. Arthritis is very common in this joint, which leads to increasing stiffness, pain and deformity of the thumb resulting in a loss of function. The operation involves removal of the trapezium and use of the Flexor Carpi Radialis tendon to reconstruct and stabilise the joint. The operation can be performed under a general anaesthetic or a Brachial Plexus Block, (BPB) which involves an injection into the armpit to numb the arm. A tight cuff is placed around the upper arm. Some patients will also require some light sedation. The Anaesthetist will meet you on the morning of the surgery to discuss the type of anaesthetic you would prefer. The operation itself takes approximately one hour to perform and, depending on the type of anaesthetic used, you may be able to go home the same evening, or you will usually be discharged the following day. 2 You will be given painkillers and an appointment to return to our dressing clinic on ward 3, two weeks after surgery. At this appointment, you will see the physiotherapist, any stitches will be removed and a new plastic splint will be made. Please bear in mind that your first appointment at the clinic may take some time. You will wear this new splint for a further two weeks and four weeks after surgery physiotherapy will begin. Your splint will usually remain on for a further two weeks and you will be given some exercises to do at home. You will also be given an out patient appointment to see the surgeons two – four weeks after your operation. Depending on your work, some patients will require six weeks off or more. Patients are not usually able to return to driving until 8 – 10 weeks following surgery. Recovery can be slow after this operation and it can take many weeks before heavy activities can be resumed." Source and further information: http://www.heatherwoodandwexham.nhs.uk/patient_info/information_leaflets/T0031.pdf 2) "Recovery Mild pain is normal for several days following surgery and you may need to take a painkiller such as paracetamol You should keep your hand dry until the plaster is removed You may use the hand as much as you find comfortable You will not be able to do light household duties within about 1 month. Heavy activities such as gardening will not be possible for at least 3 months You may return to work as soon as you feel able but note that you are not allowed to drive whilst wearing a plaster or a splint" Source and further information: http://www.johnbritton-orthopaedics.co.uk/documents/info/info_trapeziectomy.htm

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