People who lose function in their fingers because of rheumatoid arthritis, "wear and tear" osteoarthritis or injury may be candidates for finger joint replacement. Finger joint replacement surgery, or finger arthroplasty, has been a treatment option for people for more than 30 years. The goal of this surgery is to help people perform the tasks of daily living, everything from tying their shoelaces to opening doors and holding objects.
The NeuFlex® MCP Finger Joint Implant System from DePuy, introduced in 1998, is designed to help people who need to have their knuckles, or metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints replaced. The NeuFlex PIP implants are designed to replace the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints which lie between the first two bones of the finger. These implant helps patients regain as much natural function as possible in their fingers.
How Does the NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System Work?
A person's finger joints act as hinges between the bones in the hands and fingers. They help our hands grip and hold things. People who have rheumatoid arthritis often have pain and deformity in these joints.
In a finger joint replacement, doctors remove the parts of the damaged joint that are causing pain and implant an artificial joint made of a soft synthetic material. The NeuFlex MCP and PIP Finger Joint Implants have a stem on either end with a spacer in the middle. Doctors place the stems in the ends of the bones on either side of the joint that has been removed.
Why Choose NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System?
The NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System features a design that improves performance in three critical areas:
Greater Ease of Motion
The NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System was designed to give people a greater range of motion in their fingers. Older implants were not as good at distributing the stress of fully flexing the fingers, which led to deterioration of the implants. NeuFlex implants more closely resemble the natural structure of the hand, decreasing the stress at the hinge of the implant itself. Less stress means better range of motion, as well as less risk of fracture for the implant itself. Most important, the NeuFlex joint is molded at the normal resting angle of the hand, so less force is required to flex the fingers and grip objects.1
More Natural Appearance
The NeuFlex implant has a rounded shape that enables doctors to give fingers a more natural look after joint replacement surgery.
Careful quality control procedures ensure the highest quality implants. The implant is made out of Anasil™, a very flexible yet tear-resistant silicone rubber developed for medical implants.
What Are the Results With the NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System?
The system has been tested in machines that flex the joint through a wide range of motion millions of times. Throughout testing, even to 20.2 million flex cycles, none of the NeuFlex joints cracked or tore.2 Another test showed virtually no signs of wear after more than 10 million flex cycles. 2
Who Is a Candidate for Surgery with the NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System?
Finger joint implants are usually recommended for people whose joints have been deformed by rheumatoid arthritis. This deformity called ulnar drift can disable patients and leave their fingers virtually useless. Also, patients who have osteoarthritis or have experienced traumatic knuckle injuries may benefit from the surgery. Finger replacement surgery may help these patients regain movement and a more natural look to their hands while easing their chronic arthritis pain.
Only an orthopaedic surgeon trained in finger joint replacement can provide advice about whether finger joint replacement surgery and the NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System are right for you. See your physician to learn more.
Individual results with any medical treatment may vary from the outcomes mentioned in this article. Please consult with your physician about the advisability of any medical treatment that you are considering.
Warnings and Precautions
The following conditions tend to adversely affect finger replacement implants: excessive activity, deformity, inadequate implant sizing or malpositioning, insufficient support.
The following are the most frequent adverse events after finger joint replacement: infection, implant failure, worn particles; which may exacerbate existing conditions, and tissue or immunological reactions to silicone.
1. "The NeuFlex MCP Finger Joint Implant: Designed for Comfort and Performance." DePuy White Paper, Publication 0601-15-050. 1998.