Small Joint Arthroplasty of the Hand: An Update on Indications, Outcomes, and Complications

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2023 Aug 1;31(15):793-801. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-23-00034. Epub 2023 May 26.


Small joint arthroplasty of the hand is a well-established surgery that can preserve motion and provide reliable pain relief, joint preservation, and improvement in hand function. Soft-tissue integrity is critical in patient and implant selection to avoid postoperative joint instability. Although instability is more common in nonconstrained implants such as pyrocarbon, silicone arthroplasty is associated with high rates of late implant fracture and failure with resultant recurrent deformity and instability. Additional complications such as stiffness, extension lag, and intraoperative fractures may be mitigated by alterations in surgical technique and postoperative rehabilitation protocols. Revision arthroplasty with soft-tissue stabilization procedures have reliable outcomes and can avoid conversion to arthrodesis. This article will review the surgical indications, outcomes of small joint arthroplasty in the hand, and common complications and their management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty / methods
  • Fractures, Bone*
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Joint Prosthesis* / adverse effects
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reoperation
  • Silicones
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity


  • Silicones