Studies have begun to determine whether a modular wrist replacement or a traditional implant could be better at relieving painful wrist arthritis.

More specifically, the studies are to determine whether the modular partial wrist replacement will allow for better movement and last longer than a traditional implant.

Although total wrist replacement and wrist fusion may help alleviate pain, patients are often limited in their ability to perform certain activities after surgery, according to a media release from Hospital for Special Surgery.

“Wrist arthritis is one of the most common and debilitating conditions treated by hand surgeons,” explains Scott Wolfe, MD, the hand and upper extremity surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery who developed the new device, in the release.

“When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, patients often consider surgery. Because of the limitations of current surgical options, we set out to develop a better wrist replacement based on years of research into how the wrist moves,” he explains.

Wolfe and colleagues, along with Extremity Medical LLC, have designed the new device, called the KinematX midcarpal modular wrist hemiarthroplasty, to be a better anatomical match for a normal wrist and thus preserve the wrist motion needed for a range of activities.

Surgery via the implant will replace the proximal carpal row of bones at the base on the hand, those usually affected in patients with wrist arthritis. The implant utilizes modular components in various sizes to match a patient’s individual anatomy and more closely mimic normal wrist motion, the release explains.

The researchers believe the improved motion will enable patients to resume sports and other activities that they enjoy. They also believe that studies will show the implant to be more durable than traditional wrist replacements, which only last 5 to 10 years, the release continues.

The modular nature of the device will also allow the partial wrist replacement to be more easily converted to a novel “midcarpal” total wrist replacement if needed down the road, according to Wolfe, in the release.

Extremity Medical LLC, based in Parsippany, NJ, retains the license for the KinematX midcarpal modular wrist hemiarthroplasty, and will be responsible for its manufacture and distribution.

[Source(s): Hospital for Special Surgery, Science Daily]