Anyone had "anchovie" thumb surgery?

big e

Member
Messages
394
After 30 years of teaching and 40 years of performing looks like I'm headed for thumb surgery. Both thumbs! The pain is like lightening jolts....not fun!

Fortunately (I think!) one of my long time guitar students is a top local hand surgeon. After x-rays and a couple of cortisone shots he has suggested that the way to go is the "anchovy" surgery...........so named because they take a small tendon from your forearm and roll it in a ball (anchovy) to use as a cushion between the thumb joints. He and other experts claim that so far this is the most successful solution. My doc said it should last the rest of my life and in 20 years he's only had one complaint. The really bad news is that they suggest only one thumb at a time and there is a recovery / rehabilitation time of 12 weeks! I've saved a lot of money to cover me if I can't teach at all but I'm hoping that I can come up with a plan to work a lot of theory, reading, ear training etc to get me through so I won't lose all my income. Ugh!

Ironically a 40 woman who works with my wife just had her first thumb done and said it's great. She'll get the second one done later this year.

Anyone had experience with having had this surgery?

:bonk
 

Malinoski

everything wrong possible
Messages
2,116
Which thumb joint is in question?
I have a bad one there where the thumb joins the wrist and I am sure it will require surgery someday.
I am interested in this procedure, any more info on it?
 

Kriskov

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
583
My twin brother has had both hands done and he swears by it. There is a bit of recovery, but he's a fingerstyle guitarist and is able to gig again, so he is a happy camper.
 

tsar nicholas

Member
Messages
8,688
Oh my, that sounds pretty rough. Hang in there and best of success with the surgery!


I had my fretting-hand pinky rebuilt after it was shattered a bizarre basketball accident. Still hurts especially in cold weather, but at least it's usable.
 

big e

Member
Messages
394
I have two types of pain...........where the thumb joins the wrist it is sore, then I also get a jolt of pain (nerve) from bone on bone. If you search the net for anchovy thumb surgery you will find quite a bit of info. Apparently Black Sabbath's guitarist had a stem cell transplant to repair for this problem. But that hasn't been proven effective.
 

guitarjazz

Member
Messages
20,757
I had a hand surgeon try to convince me, 25 years ago, to have thumb surgery for my 'trigger' thumb, a tendon that 'catches' every now and then. It doesn't bother me if I don't think about and am glad I didn't have the surgery.
Have you had a second professional opinion?
 

Seniorspike

Member
Messages
525
So is the cause of this condition arthritis, or degenerative joint disease? That's what I've got, and it's getting hard to hold a pick. Never thought there would be a fix for that.
 

big e

Member
Messages
394
The joints of our knees & thumbs are similar in that they have cartilage which provides cushioning between the bones. When the cartilage wears out there isn't any "goop" or synthetic material that will replace it. With knees you get a joint replacement with the thumbs they usually do the anchovy surgery. Not looking forward to it but the pain pretty much dictates that I have to do something, can't keep taking meds or quit my passion / occupation.

As they say, getting old isn't for sissies!
 


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