Expert Health Articles

Mini TightRope Procedure

Dr. Jim DavidsonDr. Jim Davidson

Blanchard Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Orthopedic Surgeon

Did you know that your thumb is critical to almost every hand function? Because of the continual use of the thumb in hand movements, it’s subject to wear and tear, especially where the thumb meets the wrist, called the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. Through continual use, the amount of cartilage in this area can decrease while arthritis can set in, causing pain, limiting movement and decreasing quality of life.

In years past, the surgical option available to correct this condition included removing the bone affected by arthritis and replacing it with an implanted device. This surgery required weeks of healing time during which the wrist was immobile.

However, today a new procedure is available called a Mini TightRope CMC. Developed by physicians at Stanford University Medical Center, this procedure uses a specialized wire to support the thumb, relieve pain and improve mobility. Due to the strength and flexibility of the wire, this is possible without an implant.

Those who undergo this procedure face many improvements compared to the use of an implant. The wire utilized is durable and stable, meaning patients are less likely to need additional surgeries to replace or repair it compared to implants. In addition, recovery time is greatly reduced compared to traditional repair methods, with most patients needing a splint for about a week.

If you have pain in your thumb, wrist or hand, talk to your orthopedic surgeon about treatment options that may be right for you.