HAMPSHIRE scientists are helping to develop a computer model of a hand which could improve joint surgery for those who suffer arthritis in their fingers.
Currently, surgery to replace the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint – the second joint in the finger from the finger tip – is not as reliable or predictable as surgery to replace the much larger hip or knee.
Surgery on the joint can reduce pain but the range of movement does not improve and, in some cases, the joint can dislocate, stiffen or wear out.
Professor David Warwick, a consultant hand surgeon at University Hospital SouthamptonNHS Foundation Trust (UHS) and study lead, said: “Initially, we can try one or two steroid injections and, if unsuccessful, surgery, which includes either stiffening the joint, known as fusion, or replacement using artificial spacers made of metal or plastic.”
Now, however, Prof Warwick and consultant radiologist Dr Leonard King at UHS and engineering experts at the University of Southampton are using data taken from CT and MRI scans, together with motion-tracking technology, to build a computerised model of the PIP joint.