Factors affecting return to work after surgical treatment of trapeziometacarpal joint osteoarthritis
This study aimed to identify factors contributing to the timing of return to work after surgical treatment of trapeziometacarpal joint osteoarthritis and to calculate the costs of lost productivity. We included 627 patients with paid employment who underwent trapeziectomy and ligament reconstruction with tendon interposition. Time to return to work was measured through filling online questionnaires and analysed using survival analysis at 6 weeks and 3, 6 and 12 months after the surgery. Patients also filled in the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire. Costs of lost productivity were calculated using the human capital method. After 1 year, 78% of the patients returned to work. The median time to return to work was 12 weeks. Factors that significantly affected the time to return to work were occupational intensity (light, moderate or heavy physical labour), whether the dominant hand was treated and the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire work score and hand function score of the unoperated side at baseline. The costs of lost productivity were estimated at €11,000 on the patient level, resulting in €16.8 million on the Dutch population level per year. Level of evidence: II.