What Is Ligament Reconstruction and Tendon Interposition (LRTI) Surgery and Can It Help Treat Arthritis?

Ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI) surgery is a surgical procedure commonly used to treat arthritis in the thumb joint. If you are experiencing pain, swelling, and decreased mobility in your thumb, LRTI surgery could be the right choice for you.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we have a team of experienced orthopedic surgeons specializing in advanced treatments for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions. We understand the impact that arthritis can have on your daily life and your ability to use your hands. Our team is committed to providing you with personalized care.

What Is LRTI Surgery?

LRTI surgery is a procedure commonly used to treat arthritis in the thumb joint, also known as basal joint arthritis. This type of arthritis can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty with everyday tasks such as gripping objects and using your hands for various activities. LRTI surgery aims to address these issues by reconstructing the damaged ligaments and using a tendon to provide support and stability to the joint.

Conservative treatments such as splinting, medication, and physical therapy are typically recommended initially to treat basal joint arthritis. It is not considered a first-line treatment option for arthritis. However, if these methods fail to provide adequate relief, LRTI surgery may be considered as a more permanent solution.

What to Expect During LRTI Surgery

During LRTI surgery, a small incision is made in the base of the thumb, and the damaged ligaments are removed. A tendon from your wrist or another part of your body is then carefully positioned to fill the space left by the removed ligaments, providing support and stability to the thumb joint. This can help to alleviate the pain and improve the function of the joint, allowing you to regain more comfortable use of your hand.

Through this process, the surgeon reconstructs the ligament that supports the thumb joint and interposes a tendon to provide additional support. This helps stabilize the joint and restore function, relieving pain and improving mobility in your thumb. By addressing the underlying cause of the arthritis, LRTI surgery can effectively alleviate symptoms and improve the overall functionality of your thumb joint.

Recovery After LRTI Surgery

After surgery, you’ll likely experience some pain, swelling, and restricted movement in the affected wrist or hand. Your healthcare team will work with you to manage these symptoms through a combination of pain medications, ice, and elevation. For most patients, over-the-counter pain medications are enough to help them feel better during these initial first days. However, sometimes your surgeon may provide prescription-level painkillers to help you recover.

As the initial discomfort subsides, you’ll gradually begin physical therapy to regain strength and function in the treated joint. Physical therapy is a very important part of the recovery process. This may involve a series of exercises and stretches designed to improve flexibility and range of motion. Your physical therapist will guide you on properly caring for your incision site to prevent infection and promote healing.

Schedule a Consultation with NJ Spine & Orthopedic

LRTI surgery can be a beneficial option for those who have not found relief from other conservative treatments such as medication, splinting, or therapy. If you are struggling with persistent thumb joint pain and limited function due to arthritis, LRTI surgery may be a viable solution for you to consider.

If you are considering LRTI surgery as a potential treatment for arthritis in your hands, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our expert orthopedic surgeons. We will take the time to thoroughly evaluate your condition, discuss your treatment options, and create a personalized plan for you. Call NJ Spine & Orthopedic at (866) 553-0612 or use our contact form today.

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