Hand & Wrist Conditions

Base of thumb osteoarthritis

The thumb is vital for good hand function. Because it can turn opposite to the fingers it can pinch and grip objects.

The most mobile joint of the thumb is the one at its base (the thumb CMC joint). Because this joint is so mobile and well used, it is very prone to wear and tear (osteoarthritis). This will cause ongoing pain at the base of the thumb, particularly when gripping or squeezing.

Treatment for base of thumb osteoarthritis

Non-operative treatments including hand therapy, splints and steroid injections should be tried before surgery is considered. 

In more advanced cases, surgery for base of thumb osteoarthritis can be necessary. It can give excellent results with reduction of pain, whilst maintaining mobility of the thumb.

Many surgical techniques to treat base of thumb osteoarthritis are available. Evidence in the international hand surgery literature suggests that removal of the trapezium bone is the treatment of choice for advanced cases.

Various methods are used to support the thumb after removal of the trapezium bone (suspensionplasty). These include use of a suture implant or a strip of a tendon of the forearm.


Dr Paul van Minnen

Dr Nicholas Smith

How much does surgery for base of thumb osteoarthritis cost?

Our fees for surgery are based on recommendations of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

For more information about costs for Base of thumb osteoarthritis surgery, please see our Fees & Quality.