Brisbane Hand & Upper Limb


Pyrocarbon PIPJ and MCPJ hemiarthroplasty

Couzens GB, Hussain N, Gilpin D, and Ross M.
Orthopaedic Proceedings 2005; 87-B(SUPP III):328.

Introduction and Aims: Unilateral joint destruction in small joints of the hand presents a difficult challenge, particularly in younger patients. Pyrocarbon has a number of properties which may render it more suitable than metal for hemiarthroplasty in selected circumstances. We reviewed the results of our experience with PIP and MCP hemiarthroplasty utilising pyrocarbon implants to evaluate the clinical outcome in each case.
Method: Since December 2001, 10 pyrocarbon hemiarthroplasties were implanted in 10 patients. Eight were implanted into the PIP joint and two into the MCP joint. The average patient age was 34.5 years (range 19–65). Nine procedures were for trauma and one for arthrosis. The decision to implant was taken when other reconstructive options were not considered possible and the patient would otherwise have been offered arthrodesis or amputation or total joint arthroplasty. The patients were reviewed clinically to establish their range of motion, pain control and satisfaction with surgery. Radiographic review was undertaken.
Results: After an average follow-up of 13 months (range three to 23 months) all joints remain in-situ. The average arc of motion is 50.5 degrees. Average extension was minus eight degrees (range 0–20) and average flexion was 58.5 (range 15–90). There was no evidence of loosening. Erosion of the intact side of the joint was noted in only one patient. One patient was not satisfied with the final outcome.
Conclusion: The short-term results of PIP and MCP hemiarthroplasty with a pyrocarbon prosthesis show reasonable promise and this procedure merits further evaluation of its role in the treatment of unilateral joint destruction. It may be preferable to either total joint arthroplasty or fusion, particularly in the younger patient.

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The Brisbane Hand and Upper Limb Research Institute was established in 2010 to facilitate and coordinate upper limb clinical and basic science research across the private and public sector in Brisbane, Queensland Australia.