Finger ArthritisAbout Finger SurgeryTechnology in Finger Joint ReplacementInspire Patient Stories & CommunityFind an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Finger Joint Replacement

There are artificial joints available for the finger. These silicone implants are used by hand surgeons primarily to replace the MCP joint, which are commonly referred to as your knuckles. The implant, or “prosthesis” (prosthesis meaning artificial body part), acts as a spacer to fill the gap created when the arthritic surfaces of the MCP joint are removed.

Image displaying the implant in the finger

To perform a joint replacement of the MCP joint, the surgeon first makes an incision in the back of the hand over the joints or between the first and middle finger and between the ring and little finger.

Each joint that needs to be replaced is then opened so that the surgeon can see the joint surfaces. The cartilage is removed from both joint surfaces to leave two surfaces of bone.

Image of the arthritic surfaces being removed from the finger joint during finger joint replacement surgery.

Next, a small cutting tool called a burr is used to make holes in the bones of the finger joint.

Image of the initial opening made in the metacarpal during finger joint replacement surgery.

The artificial finger joint has a stem on each side that is inserted into the canals created in the bone of the finger and the metacarpal joint.

Image of the artificial finger joint being inserted into the finger joint.

The surgeon then completes the operation by using the tendons and ligaments around the joint to form a tight sack to hold the implant in place. The skin is sutured together and a splint is applied. You will probably be in a splint, brace, or cast for six weeks.

As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine whether an orthopaedic implant is an appropriate course of treatment. There are potential risks, and recovery takes time. The performance of the new joint depends on weight, activity level, age and other factors. These need to be discussed with your doctor.

Last Updated: 10/16/2007