Hand joint replacement surgeries are relatively new. One of the newest artificial hand joints on the market is the Artelon. This is actually an artificial spacer that’s meant to take the place of the coiled hand tendon that’s normally used with traditional hand arthritis surgery. It’s basically a biomaterial that’s supposed to degrade over a number of years, like the tendon. However, a recent study showed alarming rates of complications with hand joint replacement, with 12/29 patients treated with the device noting serious side effects. Even more concerning was that 9 patients demonstrated bone loss (osteolysis). This is despite another 2010 study showing that the spacer wasn’t any better than the coiled tendon surgery. The upshot? We’ve seen good results with using platelet concentrates and stem cells (the stem cells for more severe thumb arthritis), but if you want to go the traditional CMC hand joint replacement surgery route, then using a tendon from your forearm to cushion the joint seems to beat an artificial spacer!
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About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…