Thumb operation

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Moderator emeritus
May 25, 2004
NW of Toronto
Has anyone had any experience with a thumb fusion procedure? My thumbs are bent at a 45 degree angle and are getting worse. They won't rotate anymore to form an O. It's kind of like a square now. With my finger touching the side of the thumb. Hard to explain it but it's the tendons shortening due to loss of muscle mass. This new doctor has suggested fusing the thumbs back straight but then they'le be that way for good. His thinking is that it will improve my grip for a while. He mentioned rerouting some other tendons but I don't think I'm going to go for that. So if anyone has had any of these experiences let me know. Thanks. Al.
Sorry Al

But, that sounds completely BARBARIC
Your physical health is compromised...
Why endure the pain of surgery to add to your problems?

There has to be something better.

Necessity IS the mother of invention...after all.
hey Al,
Its funny the same procedure was proposed to me, but that was before I was diagnosed with ALS. My ALS symptoms started with my right thumb and they thought I merely had nerve damage in my hand. I was sent to see a plastic surgeon and he explained that they could take the tendon that went to my ring finger and reroute it to my thumb. However it was this same plastic surgeon that suggested I get a second opinion on the "nerve damage". A month later (and a new neorologist), I was diagnosed with ALS. However.....that was over five years ago and if that operation worked like he said it would, and seeing just how I've progressed, it would have made life easier. But thats just it, we never know. At the time of diagnosis, my thumb seemed like the least of my problems. Look into it. Like I say, its been five years , but I still have some use with my right hand and thumb and thats where it started. It doesn't effect every muscle in a specific order. It seems (at least in my case) to be kind of random. Who knows?

both my thumbs are straight and all my fingers are crooked. Problem is none have any strength. what does the connectiv tissue between thumb and finger look like?this

Check to see if the surgeons diploma is from the carribean
My hands do look a little like that but maybe not as advanced. My thumbs are crooked and my pinkie on left hand is starting to curve and fall away from the others. First finger is starting to curve downward as well. Just have to wait and see. Judging by his accent I think he's Irish Chris.
Here's my latest hand x-ray...

My neighbors get upset and walk away when I wave to them.
Not sure why? :?
There you go playing silly assss again.
Well Mike, all I can say is if your gonna give the one fingered wave, you have got the perfect hands to do so. ha... Actually, Henrys fingers never did that, they stayed straight right up until the end. However, he had a couple of toes that gave me the finger! Good laughs. Take care.
Love ya...

Hello guys,
You managed to make me laugh while in tears...
Please, can any one of you tell me how fast the progression of the thumb-finger muscle waste goes up the forearm in terms of slow or fast progression. This is where my dad's signs first appeared, and yes, his initial doctor also send him away with "put your hand in splinter" advice... I can see the thinness in the hand, and it seems to me the forearm above the wrist is just slightly thinner, which is now alarming me. The space between the thumb-finger has wasted further since 6 months ago, but the general capability has remained, the thumb-finger strength has modestly decreased if not remained the same, while the hand as a whole has relatively the same strength. How, or what happens? His left arm is the most fasciculating, especially at the bicep-below elobow area. How long can one draw on pre-existing strength and musculature?
Hate to say what the docs all say but everyone is different. While it sounds dumb it is kind of true in a general kind of way. I have a friend that has upper limb involvement as I do. His left arm is now totally limp but he does not have the curling of ths thumbs and fingers I have. Another guy I know is having strength problems with his hands but no curling. He is having trouble holding his head up straight. My muscle in my hands has really diminished in the last 6 months. I have no strength in my thumb and forefinger. It is hard to pull a bill out of my wallet. I can still grip the steering wheel quite well to drive.
The past few weeks have seen an acceleration in the wasting in my hands.
Once again they say it will hit plateaus where nothing happens for a while and then for a few weeks or so all hell breaks loose and you can almost see the deterioration daily. My legs and arms have fasciculations daily 24/7. I was talking with another friend who is just new at this and he had the faciculations and they were there for about 3 months and then stopped. Once again, we're different.
I wish I could give you better news than this or some hope but it does sound like your dad is progressing slowly so that is a good sign.
Keep in touch with the OT (occupational therapist) and get some exercises for him to help maintain flexibility. Take care and keep us posted. Al.
Thanks Al,
After his initial experience with the medical establishment, dad will not talk to anyone nor is he involved with a therapist of any kind. I am learning more and finding more support and honesty in this forum than we will ever get form the doctorts. So, we are doing it on our own, with all of your help along the way. He is doing all normal exercises on his machines, without overloading. We went back down to 800mg Q10 and his sense of taste is back to normal, although I am not sure if going 1,000mg was the reason for him losing it for a day. He is extremely emotional individual and if agitated (and you know, with this illness agitation comes so easyly), the nerves start playing havoc all over. I have another question, if you have an opinion: he is taking DHEA, and it is supposed to burn fat while helping muscles stay lean, while promoting other body proteins' increases as well. Well, he is not fat at all, he is very muscular and I think this is helping stay-off the progression's course. Wonder why DHEA was recommended by other PALS' sites. May be, if the muscles have all their extra mass, even if some of it is fat, it will still take longer to waste, so why make them leaner?
Sorry Upila. I've never heard of DHEA. I've heard of Whey powder that some bodybuilders use but not yours. Maybe some of the others such as Pals Mike or TBear may have seen it or used it.
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