A Multicenter Clinical Trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis Comparing Silicone Metacarpophalangeal Joint Arthroplasty With Medical Treatment

Kevin C. Chung, Patricia B. Burns, E. F.Shaw Wilgis, Frank D. Burke, Marian Regan, H. Myra Kim, David A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose: Metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint deformities caused by rheumatoid arthritis can be treated using silicone metacarpophalangeal joint arthroplasty (SMPA). There is no consensus as to whether this surgical procedure is beneficial. The purpose of the study was to prospectively compare outcomes for a surgical and a nonsurgical cohort of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Methods: The prospective study was conducted from January 2004 to May 2008 at 3 referral centers in the United States and England. Over a 3-year period, 70 surgical and 93 nonsurgical patients were recruited. One year data are available for 45 cases and 72 controls. All patients had severe ulnar drift and/or extensor lag of the fingers at the MCP joints. The patients all had 1-year follow-up evaluations. Patients could elect to have SMPA and medical therapy or medical therapy alone. Outcomes included the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire (MHQ), Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales, grip and pinch strength, Jebson-Taylor test, and ulnar deviation and extensor lag measurements at the MCP joints. Results: There was no difference in the mean age for the surgical group (60) when compared to the nonsurgical group (62). There was also no significant difference in race, education, and income between the 2 groups. At 1-year follow-up, the mean overall MHQ score showed significant improvement in the surgical group but no change in the nonsurgical group, despite worse MHQ function at baseline in the surgical group. Ulnar deviation and extensor lag improved significantly in the surgical group, but the mean Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales scores and grip and pinch strength showed no significant improvement. Conclusions: This prospective study demonstrated significant improvement for RA patients with poor baseline functioning treated with SMPA. The nonsurgical group had better MHQ scores at baseline, and their function did not deteriorate during the 1-year follow-up interval. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-823
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • clinical trial
  • hand surgery
  • silicone metacarpophalangeal joint arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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