Trapeziectomy Part Deux!

Megrose2
Megrose2 Member Posts: 331
edited 17. Mar 2022, 10:26 in Living with arthritis
I went for my second trapeziectomy on 29th May, this time on my right (dominant) hand. My left hand was operated on in 2016. I was nervous about having another nerve block as the previous one had only partially worked and I had the op under Fentanyl (not to be recommended!). However, the anaesthetist was absolutely brilliant and the block was administered using guided ultrasound - so a complete success! I chatted to the surgeon during the op and it was wonderful to go home a few hours later not feeling fogged by drugs. The numbness had completely worn off 24 hours later.

Yesterday I had my dressing changed and saw the hand therapist to begin exercises. I'm due to have my stitches out next week and I'll be seeing the therapist again.

I have found my hand to be much more painful than I remember my left one being. Don't know if this is because the arthritis was much worse in this joint. But I'm doing the exercises four times a day (6 exercises x 10) and hopefully things will improve. It is only 10 days after the op, to be fair! Patience was never one of my strong points!

Hope this is useful to anyone contemplating a trapeziectomy and I'll be adding updates as and when. If anyone wants to ask questions feel free to send me a message.

Meg
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Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well done, Meg, and thank you. Like crinkly's thread on her shoulder surgery, this will be so useful tó others. And to us as we get an awful lot of enquiries re trapeziectomies and it will be very useful to have a comprehensive thread to refer people to. I hope it's going well for you.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm pleased it all went well and here's to a full recovery. I cannot remember pain, every day passes in a blur of the same old same old but I do find new ones diverting. I wonder if this seems to hurt more because it is your dominant hand? Anyhoo, keep up a steady, well-spaced intake of the pain relief to keep on top of things and I hope all continues to progress positively. DD
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,595
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Good news Meg. Hope your recovery continues to go well and that the pain remains as under control as possible. Don't overdo things though or you'll pay for it.

    Take care,
    GraceB
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, how are things going? Was / is the poncho a useful purchase? DD
  • Megrose2
    Megrose2 Member Posts: 331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yes DD, it was, thank you. So much better than trying to put my totally numb (alien) arm down a sleeve!

    Stitches removed this morning. Very simple procedure. Wound looking good. Still faithfully doing my exercises - I know how important they are. I see the physio again on Thursday and, thinking back to the last time, I will probably be encouraged to begin massaging the scar daily. I've bought some Bio Oil for the purpose as it was very good before.

    Feeling good in myself and enjoying reading lots of books and planning what to do when I've got two working (painfree) hands - writing (short stories for women's mags), knitting socks, crocheting blankets and having a go at watercolour painting.

    Meg
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Wow! That's a lot to look forward to, Meg. I hope it all comes to fruition.

    Yes, you're an old hand at this so know what needs doing and will do it.

    I hope all goes well tómorrow. Please update us.
  • Kazziwaz
    Kazziwaz Member Posts: 30
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Meg

    I'm meeting with surgeon next month to discuss having this on my right hand, is it worth having done?

    He has warned me it is painful, I've recently had a failed joint replacement,joint dislocation repair, fusion to the same joint in a 2 year period and he said the pain was much more severe but said I would benefit from having it done.

    Numb blocks are fantastic, I love them!
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for this Meg..
    I am supposed to be down for this both thumbs, I put it off because of using crutches when I had both hips replaced ,down to one now, so no excuse, I get away with it most of the time by wearing splints..
    but its good to hear peoples story's bad or good just to prepare... :)
    hope you have a good recovery...x
  • Megrose2
    Megrose2 Member Posts: 331
    edited 31. May 2019, 06:38
    Hi Kazziwaz and Barbara. I've found that the pain involved in a trapeziectomy is very subjective. My physio said after both ops that 'this operation is so painful'. However, I've honestly found it no more painful than the pain I was getting from the arthritis itself and, on the plus side, I know that things are going to improve (unlike having the arthritis!). Yes, my right hand is painful at the moment, but my left hand - operated on two years ago - is pain free and this was my main objective, so I expect the same from my right hand. What I have found important is to religiously complete the hand exercises - no missing them - then I massage my whole hand and wrist with E45, four times a day.

    If you're right handed and having your right hand operated on, it's worth having a bit of practice cleaning your teeth with your left hand and, without wishing to be indelicate, practice using your left hand when you go to the toilet. I didn't wear a bra for the first week either, as it was just too much of a faff to take on and off. Writing with your left hand is interesting, too. My husband said that my writing was clearer when written with my left hand! Washing your hair is a bit of a problem, but my husband helped out with that. Or treat yourself and go to the hairdresser.

    I hope it all works out well for both of you, but message me any time if I can be of any help.

    Meg

    P.S. I didn't mention that I used a LimBo cover for my cast initially, so that I could comfortably have a bath or shower without getting the cast wet. Very useful.
  • Megrose2
    Megrose2 Member Posts: 331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Update. I saw my physio again yesterday and she was very pleased at my hand movement. So much so, that I don't have to see her again! I'll be continuing with the exercises, including some additional ones she gave me to increase the strength in the thumb. I'll be seeing the surgeon again at the beginning of July - it should have been sooner, but we're away - and I imagine that he'll discharge me at that point.

    I am getting pain down the inside of my thumb and the physio said she thought I had arthritis in the second joint as well. Joy! She said that I could probably have that joint fused, but I'll see how I go and discuss it with the surgeon in July. He did say back in April that having arthritis in my thumb didn't mean I would get it elsewhere. I laughed and told him, 'too late'!

    Meg
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Meg, I love your attitude. You've deservedly done very well so far and I hope it all continues in that vein. Enjoy the holiday :D
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thankyou so much for the info Meg..every bit is useful..wishing you a speedy recovery you do seem to have the right attitude..x
  • Kazziwaz
    Kazziwaz Member Posts: 30
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for the reply Meg.
    I'm quite good using my left hand as I've had several surgeries to my right hand in the past couple of years.
    Seeing the surgeon next week but I've decided to go ahead.
    I will definitely inbox you if I have any questions.

    Thanks
  • Megrose2
    Megrose2 Member Posts: 331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Just realised that I hadn't updated this. I saw my consultant again in July and everything was fine, so he discharged me. Unfortunately, I've got a trigger finger on the same hand and, hopefully, the GP will give me a steroid injection later this week. The consultant suggested that my GP could refer me back to them for a guided injection, which I would have preferred, but the GP I saw last week (not my usual one) wouldn't wear it. Does it cost GPs to refer patients to a specialist? Just thinking.

    Anyway, good luck to anyone planning to have a trapeziectomy and do get in touch anytime if you want to ask any questions.

    Meg
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm so pleased it's all going more or less well, Meg and thanks for the update.

    As to your question - my understanding is that whoever refers the patient foots the bill. Hence, where hospitals would routinely refer patients from one department to another previously, I think that only happens when absolutely necessary now. The general idea appeas to be to refer the patient back to GP and let him / her decide if it's necessary.
  • Mags55
    Mags55 Member Posts: 1
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Megrose2 wrote:
    Just realised that I hadn't updated this. I saw my consultant again in July and everything was fine, so he discharged me. Unfortunately, I've got a trigger finger on the same hand and, hopefully, the GP will give me a steroid injection later this week. The consultant suggested that my GP could refer me back to them for a guided injection, which I would have preferred, but the GP I saw last week (not my usual one) wouldn't wear it. Does it cost GPs to refer patients to a specialist? Just thinking.

    Anyway, good luck to anyone planning to have a trapeziectomy and do get in touch anytime if you want to ask any questions.

    Meg
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    If you want to comment I think it's easier to click on the red 'reply to topic' button just under the last post on the thread. This brings up a clean screen, you type then press submit. Clicking on 'reply with quote' on the last post merely repeats it unless you add something further. DD
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi DD and hi Mags55,

    Hope you had as good a day as possible today, it’s lovely to meet you Mags55.

    As Dreamdaisy said if you look a little further down from the 'reply with quote' option and to the left you will see an option to reply to topic. Then you will get a text box to let us know a little about yourself and your relationship with arthritis. Do have a go I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

    Take care
    Yvonne x
  • KF56
    KF56 Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Megrose2 wrote:
    I went for my second trapeziectomy on 29th May, this time on my right (dominant) hand. My left hand was operated on in 2016. I was nervous about having another nerve block as the previous one had only partially worked and I had the op under Fentanyl (not to be recommended!). However, the anaesthetist was absolutely brilliant and the block was administered using guided ultrasound - so a complete success! I chatted to the surgeon during the op and it was wonderful to go home a few hours later not feeling fogged by drugs. The numbness had completely worn off 24 hours later.

    Yesterday I had my dressing changed and saw the hand therapist to begin exercises. I'm due to have my stitches out next week and I'll be seeing the therapist again.

    I have found my hand to be much more painful than I remember my left one being. Don't know if this is because the arthritis was much worse in this joint. But I'm doing the exercises four times a day (6 exercises x 10) and hopefully things will improve. It is only 10 days after the op, to be fair! Patience was never one of my strong points!

    Hope this is useful to anyone contemplating a trapeziectomy and I'll be adding updates as and when. If anyone wants to ask questions feel free to send me a message.

    Meg

    Glad yours went well. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same experience. I am 16 weeks post op on my dominant right hand and i still need to take pain killers every day, it is still sore, stiff, extremely sensitive around the whole thumb joint and down into the thumb and forefinger. I simply wasn't warned about recovery time and the problems I have experienced
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    KF56, I'm sorry you're taking so long to recover. I don't know what you were told about recovery time but I do know that many people seem to have unrealistic expectations of how long these things can take sometimes, I believe, because these days we can be in and out of hospital for an operation quicker than we can be in and out for an outpatients' appointment.

    Cuts have been made and damage done. This requires time, rest and exercises. I'm by no means saying you have not done this but I think trapeziectomies do seem to cause a lot of problems out of all proportion to the length of the op or size of the scar. I hope yours will settle soon.
  • Megrose2
    Megrose2 Member Posts: 331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi KF56. So sorry to hear that your trapeziectomy recovery isn't as swift as you had hoped. To be honest, I think I've been lucky with mine as even the physio was surprised. I do recognise the sensitivity you mentioned, as I had the same thing, but it did improve, with time.

    Another thing is that my hands are quite small and not very fleshy. Whether this makes a difference or not I don't know, but it's possible.

    Keep taking the painkillers and keep doing the exercises (very important). I also found that massaging the whole area with an oil, especially after the exercises, worked well - and feels good, too. Maybe get somebody else to do it for you?

    I hope that things soon improve for you.
  • Kazziwaz
    Kazziwaz Member Posts: 30

    Hi KF56

    I had my trapeziectomy in October last year. I'm still recovering. I've been discharged from physio but I keep up with the exercises. I see the surgeon again in August.

    I can use the hand but I still have pain and it aches a lot, I have altered sensation which drives me mad, I think this is the worst of it for me.

    My surgeon told me up to 6 months were painful and then it should start to improve but it would be almost 12 months before my hand felt "normal" again. He wasn't wrong. Like Meg says, the exercises are important and i also used oil to massage the area.

    If you want to chat about it feel free to inbox me.

    Kaz

  • KF56
    KF56 Member Posts: 5

    Thought I would update the people who kindly responded to my messages from February. It is now nearly 7 months since my trapeziectomy. I continue to have stiffness, soreness, hypersensitivity in the scar and surrounding area. The joint is extremely weak and aches whenever I try to use it for any length of time. My mood became very low, as physio seemed to make little difference in the recovery process. The physiotherapist referred me to the pain clinic as I was struggling to cope, but then coronavirus came along and I decided I didn't want to risk exposing myself and my vulnerable husband to the risk of contracting it. I took matters into my own hands and started on a range of exercises using a squeezy ball and finger strengthening equipment. Movement and pain levels have improved since taking control myself, but I reiterate that, at no time, was I told that recovery could take over 6 months. The NHS has enough on its plate at the moment to be interested in my issues, but I feel pretty aggrieved that I wasn't adequately warned in advance. My left hand has mild symptoms, but I certainly wouldn't contemplate having the same operation again unless I had extreme pain. I'm sorry if this account worries people who are intending to have the same operation, and I'm sure many other people will recover much more quickly and easily than I have. I just feel that in my case I wasn't adequately warned and the information I was given was too vague and inaccurate