Surgery for hand arthritis


Surgeons at our HCA UK hand and wrist units can help to restore mobility and reduce pain in your fingers

About hand arthritis surgery

With your fingers and thumbs are in constant use surgery can eases pain and restore mobility in an arthritic hand joint. Wear and tear can mean an increased risk of osteoarthritis in your knuckles, thumb joint and the joints at the end of your fingers.

The cartilage cushioning your finger joints can wear away over time, causing your finger bones to grind together. This makes it hard to move and causes pain. Hand surgery can often give pain relief and restore mobility. The two most common types are arthroplasty and fusion (arthrodesis).

In arthroplasty, a joint is removed from the hand and replaced with artificial surfaces made from synthetic material. This is usually carried out on the knuckles and restores shape, stability and some mobility.

In fusion (arthrodesis), two of the hand bones are fused together. This inhibits mobility but provides pain relief.

Need to know

  • What happens during hand arthritis surgery icon plus

    Both arthroplasty and fusion surgery are performed under general anaesthetic. The procedure takes between one and two hours.

    For an arthroplasty, a small cut is made in your hand and the worn bone ends. An implant is put in its place and the area closed.

    For fusion surgery, the worn joint surfaces are sculpted to match each other, and fixed firmly together using screws or plates.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After surgery icon plus

    Your consultant may recommend a splint while your hand recovers from surgery. You'll have a follow-up appointment with a hand therapist after two weeks. They will help you move your hand and manage the scar. You'll have a regular follow-up appointment with the hand therapist.

Our hand arthritis surgeons

Our orthopaedic surgeons who specialise in hand surgery are experienced in diagnosing, treating and managing a range of hand and wrist conditions. 

Supporting the consultants are a team of hand therapists, who will work with you to encourage the return of movement to the hand and wrist, giving you exercises to perform at home. 

Our hand surgery locations

From complex hand surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional hand and wrist care, including hand therapy, across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request a hand and wrist appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced hand and wrist consultants. We can also make imaging and outpatient hand therapist appointments for you.

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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