MCP Joint Replacement

The metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP) is the joint between your fingers and palm.  Injury to these joints can cause impaired function of your fingers.  The most common, long term ailment of these joints is due to Rheumatoid Arthritis.  In severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, the hands have extremely limited function due to stiffness, pain, and ulnar drift.  Ulnar drift is when the swelling of the MCP joints cause the fingers to point toward the small finger side of the hand.  

Surgery to correct this involves replacement of the MCP joints.  This is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home the same day.  You will be discharged in a temporary splint that must be kept clean and dry until you are seen for follow up appointment, typically one day after surgery. Elevation of your hand on a couple of pillows can alleviate pain and swelling.  

At your first follow up appointment, we will write you a prescription for a splint called a MCP blocking splint that will keep your fingers in a neutral position. The splint should be worn at all times, expect when showering. You are able to shower 48 hours after surgery; however, it is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, etc.). When showering, it is important you do not use the affected hand. After showering, pat your incision dry and replace splint. 

Sutures will be removed 10-14 days after surgery. After suture removal, you will continue to wear your splint. Your follow up appointments will be about every 2 weeks to monitor your recovery. Occupational therapy may begin 4 weeks post surgery after evaluation at the follow up appointment.

You may resume your regular diet after surgery; however, you should start slow. It is a good idea to start with things like toast, Jell-O, crackers, and soup to see how your stomach tolerates food after anesthesia. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or Gatorade and limit your intake of sodas, coffee and other caffeinated beverages.  

We will send you home with a prescription for an antibiotic and a pain medication. It is important to take your antibiotic and pain medication with food to prevent nausea (unless you are instructed otherwise). Do not take your pain medication and antibiotic at the same time as this may upset your stomach; separate them by an hour or two. You cannot drive while taking pain medication.

Should you develop any of the following signs and or symptoms of possible infection, call our office immediately:

  1. Fever over 100.3
  2. Chills or night sweats
  3. Unusual swelling, redness, or warmth to your incision site
  4. Purulent drainage from incision site.

Please do not hesitate to call our office with any concerns or questions you may have.

Please remember the above instructions are only a guide. Always listen to the instructions given by your healthcare provider and follow those if in conflict with any listed above.

Go to top