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Persistent finger or hand pain, often caused by arthritis, can be debilitating and can prevent a person from engaging in everyday activities like preparing food, hygiene tasks, gripping, typing, and more. In cases of hand or finger pain caused by arthritis, the skilled hand experts at The Institute for Hand Surgery at New York Plastic Surgical Group, a division of Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, typically will initially recommend the most conservative, non-surgical treatment that will effectively alleviate pain and other symptoms. When conservative measures fail to provide adequate relief, it may be time to consider hand or finger joint replacement surgery, known as arthroplasty.

Who Has Hand or Finger Joint Replacement?

Most of our patients who undergo hand or finger joint arthroplasty are older, and suffer from the painful effects of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis, simply put, is cartilage loss of a joint. In healthy joints, articular cartilage cushions the end of bones and gives the joint a smooth surface upon which to glide. A fluid called synovial fluid, produced in the lining of the joint, lubricates the smooth surface of the cartilage.

The inflammation of osteoarthritis is a result of a breakdown of the cartilage in a joint, while rheumatoid arthritis attacks the synovial membranes that help to lubricate the joints. This can lead to symptoms such as:

Benefits of Hand or Finger Joint Arthroscopy

Replacing a hand or finger joint that has been damaged by arthritis or trauma can provide multiple benefits, including:

Hand and Finger Joint Replacement for Arthritis

When joints of the hand or fingers become stiff and painful due to arthritis, replacing them can help alleviate symptoms, realign bones, and restore more normal function. Just as a hip or knee joint can be replaced, so can the joints of the hand and fingers.

Hand or finger joint arthroplasty involves removing the joint that has been damaged by arthritis and replacing it with an artificial joint. This is usually performed on the knuckles at the base of the fingers (metacarpophalangeal or MCP joints) and the joints at the base of the hand (proximal interphalangeal or PIP joints).

Replacement joints differ in material depending on the function, range of motion, and position of the damaged joint. Hand or finger joint replacements may be made from silicone, metal, or ceramics.

The Hand or Finger Joint Replacement Procedure

Hand or finger joint arthroplasty is performed under general or local anesthesia. The surgeon creates an incision to access the affected joint in order to remove it thd damages cartilage and bone. Next, the artificial hand or finger joint is placed and the incision is closed with sutures.

Recovery After Hand and Finger Joint Replacement

Following hand or finger joint reconstruction surgery, it is often necessary to wear a cast or splint to protect the hand as it heals. Patients may need to modify the way they use their hands during this period so that the replaced joint can heal properly, but most patients can return to their normal activities about three months after hand or finger joint replacement. Working with a special hand therapist can help improve recovery.3

Contact Us

Hand or finger joint replacement is a delicate and highly specialized procedure for which extensive training is required at The Institute for Hand Surgery at NYPS Group, our experienced surgeons have the delicate touch and technical skill necessary to perform this procedure successfully. If you are troubled by chronic hand pain and would like to learn more about hand or finger joint replacement surgery, please contact us to schedule a consultation with an expert hand surgeon on our team.


1 Cleveland Clinic. Arthritis. Available: Accessed September 7, 2021.
2 American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Knuckle, Wrist & Finger Joint Replacement. Available: Accessed September 7, 2021.
3 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hand Arthritis. Available:–conditions/arthritis-of-the-hand/. Accessed September 7, 2021.

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