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Finger Joint Replacement Surgery Using the NeuFlex™ MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System

Finger joint replacement surgery is an important decision to think about when arthritis of the finger makes simple actions, such as typing, driving or holding a pen, painful and almost impossible.

Talk to your doctor about finger joint replacement surgery. It involves joint replacements that can be used to surgically replace your damaged joints.

Most of today's finger joint implants are designed to replace what the medical industry calls "MCP" joints (Metacarpophalangeal). These are the large knuckles that join the hand bones to the finger bones. Another set of implants is also designed to replace the "PIP" joints (proximal interphalangeal), which lie between the first two bones of the finger.

Image of the anatomy of the finger joint

If you need finger joint replacement surgery, your surgeon may discuss using DePuy's NeuFlex™ MCP and PIP Finger Joint Implant Systems. These implants are made of silicone and have unique designs, such as special central hinges. If you hold your healthy hand out in a relaxed position, you'll see that your knuckles are not perfectly straight. The NeuFlex implant's special hinge design incorporates the natural bend of the finger, thus helping reduce wear and tear, as well as unwanted strain on the implant.

Illustration of the NeuFlex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System

The Procedure

An important part of finger joint replacement surgery is anesthesia-the doctor may put you to sleep entirely (general) or numb certain parts of your body (regional). With finger replacement surgery, the choices are regional or general. In either case, extra local anesthesia may be used at the end of the procedure to reduce any discomfort.

Finger joint replacement surgery with the NeuFlex Finger Implant System begins with the surgeon making cuts on the back of the hand or fingers to expose the joint. The cuts will be made so that they preserve as much of the normal support tissues as possible.

The surgeon will remove the damaged joints along with any arthritic bone spurs which are bony projections that form along joints. The surgeon will then prepare the canals in the middle of both bones that make up the finger joint so that they are ready for the stems of the implant to be inserted.

Image of the initial opening made in the metacarpal during finger joint replacement surgery using the NeuFlex finger implant

When your surgeon has prepared the joint, temporary replacement joints will be used to find out the right size for each joint.

The permanent NeuFlex implants are then inserted and the surgeon will ensure a proper fit and movement has been achieved. The soft tissues around the finger joint are closed, in addition to the overlying skin. Your finger joint replacement is then complete.

Image of the artificial finger joint being inserted during finger replacement surgery using the Neuflex MCP/PIP Finger Joint Implant System

After the surgery, your hand will be wrapped in a large dressing involving the fingers, hand and wrist. You will be asked to keep the hand elevated during the first few post-operative days to prevent swelling. Pain medications will be prescribed and antibiotics if your health care team thinks infection may be a threat.

You can have finger replacement surgery as an in-patient, where you stay overnight in the hospital, or as an out-patient, where you are able to go home shortly after the procedure. This depends on how many joints need to be replaced in your hand; how long the procedure will take; how long your surgeon estimates you may be in pain after the surgery; and other special patient considerations. You will need to discuss all these details with your surgeon.

The replacement of MCP or PIP joints damaged by arthritis with NeuFlex implants can be beneficial in relieving your pain and helping to restore or preserve your joint motion. Contact your physician to determine if you are a potential candidate for a NeuFlex Finger Implant System or find a hand specialist in your area by using our surgeon locator.

Warnings and Precautions

The following conditions tend to adversely affect finger replacement implants: excessive activity, deformity, inadequate implant sizing or malpositioning, insufficient support.

Adverse Events

The following are the most frequent adverse events after finger joint replacement: infection, implant failure, wear particles, which may exacerbate existing conditions, tissue or immunological reactions to silicone.

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: 08/29/2008