Prospective Clinical Trial Comparing Trapezial Denervation With Trapeziectomy for the Surgical Treatment of Arthritis at the Base of the Thumb.
BACKGROUND: Trapeziectomy is considered to be the "gold standard" procedure for first carpometacarpal joint (first CMCJ) osteoarthritis. First CMCJ denervation offers the potential benefit of a shorter procedure with bone and joint preservation and swift postoperative rehabilitation. This trial aimed to compare functional outcomes, patient satisfaction, quality of life, and cost effectiveness following these treatments. METHODS: This study was a prospective clinical trial commencing December 2005 to November 2013. A range of functional outcomes assessments were used preoperatively at 6 and 12 mo and 5 y after surgery. These included measurements of strength/motion, visual analogue score, Michigan Hand Outcomes and the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions questionnaires. Data were analyzed using a two-sample t-test and Mann-Whitney test. RESULTS: A total of 45 patients were studied of 55 recruited. Age ranged from 41 to 72 (mean = 59). Thirty-five patients underwent denervation and 10 initially had trapeziectomy. Nine patients were converted to trapeziectomy within an average of 6 to 12 mo. There was no significant difference in the functional outcomes at different points of follow-ups. Similarly, there was no significant difference in the time of return to work or cost effectiveness. Denervation achieved a success rate of just above 70%, whereas no revisions were required for the trapeziectomy group. CONCLUSIONS: There was no difference between the two treatments. First CMCJ denervation does not appear to be superior to trapeziectomy. However, the advantage of rapid rehabilitation makes it more favored by patients but at the expense of 30% reoperation rate. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II.