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15th October, 2003
Dear Mz Needham
Having been diagnosed as requiring a trapeziectomy, I decided to check out what the operation entailed. Almost immediately my search engine raised your report (see First successful thumb joint replacement in NZ - by Valerie Needham). All I can say is I'm so grateful that you posted it.
In fact Chris Bainbridge operated on my Wife a few years ago, ulna artery, and so his name was known to me. Unfortunately my GP had directed me to a different hospital who made no reference to the alternative surgery you outline. I am now attempting to contact the Hand Clinic.
On 7th December, 2003 Don wrote:
I had consultation with Mr Bainbridge only last week and, subject to x-rays, joint replacement scheduled for .... These replacements have now been carried out at Derby, UK, for some eight years with over 100 operations at a success rate of over 85%. It would appear that provided one doesn't play 18 holes of golf a day and that the trapezium is the only joint affected i.e. not the wrist area, all is ok.
The operation will be with an arm block, not general anaesthetic, apparently all one hears is the saw! A small section of bone will be removed and the new joint put in. Bandaged for one week with a support and the comments were “bandage off and start using it.” Sounds a lot better than 9 to 12 months of physio.
This link gives contact details of the Pulvertaft Hand Center and an outline of their study in the treatment of trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis - This is a world famous hand centre in Derby, UK.