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Arthrodesis (Joint Fusion)

Joint fusion or arthrodesis is a procedure to fuse or stick the joint permanently. No movement will be possible in the joint afterwards. The joint surfaces are removed and the ends of the bone are stuck together. They may be held together with metal wires or pins or a plate and screws. In the fingers, the bones may be fused together at an angle (flexed towards the palm). This is to allow better grip after movement has been removed from the joint that has been fused.

Joint fusion is done for a variety of reasons. It is usually done for painful or very badly damaged joints. This can be from arthritis or trauma or infection. Afterwards it takes about six weeks for signs of healing to appear on xrays and about twelve weeks for solid fusion or healing to happen. While often some movement and use of the hand is allowed during this period, heavy or forced use of the hand should be avoided until solid fusion has taken place.