Arthrodesis for Carpometacarpal Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review

Miraal S. Dharamsi*, Krysta Caudle, Austin Fares, John Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: This study reviews the patient demographics, functional outcomes, and complications of trapeziometacarpal arthrodesis as a treatment for arthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint. Methods: A literature search was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines using PubMed and Google Scholar. Articles located by the search were independently assessed by title, abstract, or full article review for inclusion or exclusion. Demographic, outcome, and complication data from included articles were extracted, compiled, and analyzed. Frequency-weighted means and proportions were generated. Results: In total, 21 articles met inclusion and exclusion criteria accounting for 802 patients and 914 thumbs. Average age at time of surgery was 55.4 years, and mean follow-up time was 72.7 months. Arthrodesis techniques include Kirschner-wire fixation (51.3%), plate fixation (24.6%), screw fixation (9.8%), tension band technique (7.1%), staple fixation (7.0%), and none (<0.1%). Mean preoperative Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score was 58 and 25.4 postoperatively (∆ = -32.6 points). Mean preoperative visual analogue scale score was 6.8 and 1.9 postoperatively (∆ = -4.9 points). Mean preoperative grip strength was 15.7 kg, and 23.0 kg postoperatively (∆ = +7.3 kg). In all, 48.7% of thumbs had complications, 15.1% of which were major, while 33.6% were minor. The most common major complication was symptomatic hardware (8.6%) requiring return to the operating room, and the most common minor complications were peritrapezial arthritis (8.5%) and nonunion (8.4%). Conclusions: Arthrodesis for arthritis of the trapeziometacarpal joint is associated with good functional outcomes and low to moderate patient-reported disability and pain scores, but a high complication rate. Level of Evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1290
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • arthritis
  • arthrodesis
  • carpometacarpal arthritis
  • fusion
  • thumb
  • trapeziometacarpal arthrodesis


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