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If you need a DIP Joint Arthrodesis, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is A DIP Joint Arthrodesis?

DIP joint arthrodesis involves surgically fusing the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint of the finger. Additionally, also referred to as distal interphalangeal joint arthrodesis. The DIP joint, situated at the fingertip, connects the middle phalanx to the distal phalanx. Futhermore, the Arthrodesis procedure fuses two bones together to establish a stable and immobile joint.

Surgeons typically perform this procedure to address severe arthritis, chronic pain, instability, deformity, or joint damage unresponsive to conservative treatments. Additionally, surgeons most commonly perform the procedure on the fingers, particularly focusing on the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. This differs from PIP Joint Arthroplasty which involves surgically replacing a damaged or diseased proximal interphalangeal joint.

The DIP Joint Arthrodesis Procedure

During a DIP joint fusion procedure, a healthcare provider begins by making an incision over the affected DIP joint to expose the bones. Next, they carefully remove the cartilage and damaged bone surfaces of the DIP joint to create a fresh bony surface. The surgeon then brings together the two bones that form the DIP joint, the middle phalanx and distal phalanx. Moreover, put together in a specific position and holds them securely using screws, pins, or plates. This fusion technique ensures the bones grow together over time, creating a solid union.

After securing the bones, the surgeon closes the incision with sutures or surgical staples. Finally, they dress and bandage the finger to protect the surgical site and promote healing. This procedure aims to alleviate pain and improve function in patients with severe arthritis or joint damage by providing a stable and pain-free joint.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Following the procedure, healthcare providers typically immobilize the finger with a splint or cast for a period to facilitate bone healing and fusion. Over several weeks to months, the bones progressively grow together, forming a solid joint. Throughout this period, patients receive advice to refrain from activities that could strain the healing joint.

Physical therapy and hand therapy play vital roles in the recovery process. Additioanally, these therapies aid in pain management, swelling reduction, and enhancement of finger strength and flexibility following the fusion procedure.

Benefits and Considerations of DIP Joint Arthrodesis

DIP joint arthrodesis proves to be a dependable procedure offering pain relief and enhanced stability for individuals grappling with severe DIP joint arthritis or other joint-affecting conditions. By halting joint movement, arthrodesis prevents the discomfort stemming from bone-on-bone friction and diminishes inflammation.

Nevertheless, it bears crucial to keep in mind that fusing the DIP joint leads to a permanent loss of motion at that joint. While this may not significantly impact overall hand function, individuals need to understand the potential consequences for activities requiring precise finger movements.

Healthcare providers make the decision to undergo DIP joint arthrodesis based on the patient’s individual condition, the severity of symptoms, and the extent of joint damage. Patients should have a thorough discussion with their hand surgeon to fully understand the potential benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of the procedure before making a decision.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.