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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Researchers are working on an experimental treatment to help people with arthritis find long-term relief.

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It involves implanting synthetic cartilage into the base of a patient’s thumb to prevent the bones from rubbing together.

One patient said she left the half-hour surgery pain free and she appreciates her new independence in every way.

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”I would have been not only in a lot of pain holding him, but I’m not sure I would have been confident holding a baby with how my thumbs were,” says Linda Docherty, a thumb implant patient.

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The thumb implant trial is taking place in the United Kindom and hospitals in New York, Rochester, Boston, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and San Diego.