Denervation of the Joints of the Hand and Wrist: Surgical Techniques and a Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis

Thomas E. Tieman, Liron S. Duraku, Mark J. W. van der Oest, Caroline A. Hundepool, Ruud W. Selles, J. Michiel Zuidam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Joint denervation of the wrist, basal joint of the thumb, and the finger is an option for patients with chronic pain. Compared with other surgical treatment options, function is preserved and the rehabilitation time is limited. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed for each joint to determine whether the choice of technique and choice of denervation of specific articular sensory branches lead to a different outcome. Methods: Embase, MEDLINE (OvidSP), Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed publisher, Cochrane, and Google Scholar database searches yielded 17 studies with reported outcome on denervation of the wrist, eight on the basal joint of the thumb, and five on finger joints. Results: Overall, the level of evidence was low; only two studies included a control group, and none was randomized. Meta-analysis for pain showed a 3.3 decrease in visual analogue scale score for wrist pain. No difference was found between techniques (total versus partial denervation), nor did different approaches influence outcome. The first carpometacarpal joint showed a decrease for visual analogue scale score for pain of 5.4. Patient satisfaction with the treatment result was 83 percent and 82 percent, respectively. Reported pain in finger joints decreased 96 percent in the metacarpophalangeal joints, 81 percent in the proximal interphalangeal joint, and 100 percent in the distal interphalangeal joint. The only reported case in the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb reported an increase of 37 percent. Conclusions: Only denervation of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb reported an increase in pain; however, this was a single patient. Wrist and first carpometacarpal joint and finger joint denervation have a high satisfaction rate and decrease the pain. There was no difference between techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959E-972E
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Volume148
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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