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MCP Joint Replacement

What is a 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. 


To correct this impaired function involves replacement of the MCP joints. The joint space is replaced with a new silicone joint.  This is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home the same day.

Things to know:​

  • You will be discharged in a temporary splint that must be kept clean and dry until you are seen for follow up.
  • You will follow up with us in the office 1-2 days after the procedure. You will be sent for a custom splint that is removable for showering ONLY.
  • After 48 hours you may shower. While showering, you may use soap and water, but be sure to pat the incision dry. It is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, washing dishes, etc.). While showering, it is important you do not use your hand/arm. After showering, pat incision dry and replace splint.
  • It is important to elevate your arm on a couple of pillows to alleviate pain and swelling.
  • Sutures will remain in place for 10-14 days.
  • Typically follow up appointments are scheduled in two-week intervals following surgery, so we can monitor your recovery.
  • You will keep the splint on for 4 weeks, and then begin occupational/physical therapy.
  • The splint will gradually be discontinued in the weeks to follow as you progress with occupational therapy. Your lifting restrictions will gradually be increased over the next 2-3 months.

Postoperative restrictions are as follows:

  • NO use of the affected hand.
  • Must wear splint at all times, except while showering.