Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

My orthopedic surgeon showed me the implant that will be used to replace my rheumatic knuckles. I noticed it is already in a bent position. Will I be able to straighten my fingers all the way?

Answer:

Finger joint replacements have been around for almost 50 years now. Many improvements have been made, expecially in the last few years. For example silicone and other composite materials are used now instead of metal.

The hinge part of the joints are better now, too. They can resist the stress of repeated use. The pre-bent or pre-flexed design you noticed incorporates 30 degrees of flexion. This mimics the natural position of the hand.

Keeping an implant in a fully extended position could put a constant strain on it. As scientists can tell you, keeping an object under constant stress will cause it to fail mechanically over time. The same is true of joint implants.

The implants can extend fully as well. At your next appointment ask your doctor to show you the full motion potential of the planned implant.

Bassem Elhassan, MD, et al. Experimental Investigation of Finger Dynamics Before and After Metacarpophalangeal Joint Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2006. Vol. 31 A. No. 2. Pp. 228-235.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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