Ligament reconstruction tendon interposition arthroplasty is currently the preferred technique for carpometacarpal joint arthritis of the thumb by most surgeons. Despite its efficacy, morbidity has been associated with the harvest of the flexor carpi radialis tendon. Using an allograft as material for arthroplasty, donor site morbidity is avoided. In this report, we present our surgical technique to perform ligament reconstruction tendon interposition arthroplasty using an acellular dermal matrix allograft (GraftJacket) in patients with Eaton stages II, III, and IV symptomatic first carpometacarpal arthritis.
One hundred thumbs with trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis underwent surgical treatment using GraftJacket allograft instead of the flexor carpi radialis tendon autograft. Each patient was followed for a minimum of 12 months. The surgical procedure included trapezial excision and identification of the flexor carpi radialis. The allograft was cut to create a 15-cm strip. The ligament reconstruction was performed by passing the strip around the flexor carpi radialis tendon and suturing it to the base of the thumb metacarpal base through an intramedullary drill hole. The remaining portion of the allograft was fashioned as an interposition mass (anchovy) and interposed between the scaphoid and the base of the first metacarpal.
All but 1 patient experienced significant improvement in his or her pain scale rating and grip and pinch strengths. Outcomes from this study compare very favorably with those of other series. No patients experienced a foreign body reaction or infection in this series. We believe that the use of an acellular dermal allograft for both ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition provides a safe and an effective alternative technique for the treatment of advanced first carpometacarpal arthritis.