Hand surgery is a broad term that is associated with different types of surgical procedures done on the area of the hand, wrist, and fingers.
For hand surgeons, it is all about restoration and improvement of the functions of the hands after experiencing injury or genetic disorders involving the hands and wrists.
Specialized surgical procedures targeted to the specific concern can often bring about dramatic improvement to the quality of life.
Aside from functional reasons, hand surgery may also include improvement to the cosmetic appearance of the hand.
A hand reconstruction surgery may be indicated for any of these reasons:
The main goal of hand reconstructive surgery is to restore hand, wrist, and finger functions alongside creating cosmetic improvements to the area.
$4,700 to $7,400
Generally, the hand surgery treatment starts with a thorough assessment of the cause of the injury to establish a diagnosis. This will help determine the best approach to do to treat the injury or damage. Then, medications are administered to help you relax during the process. This can include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia depending on the surgery to be performed. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Some hand surgeries are performed through a scope where a small incision is made and a tiny camera is inserted to better see the inside of the wrist and its small nerves. Or a traditional open approach can be done to allow your surgeon to work directly inside your hand or wrist.
Here are the common types of hand conditions that can be effectively treated with hand surgery and how the treatment is performed:
1. Skin grafts and flaps
Grafts involve attaching a healthy skin to a part of the hand missing any skin while flaps involve taking skin with intact blood supply system for placement on the area of the hand without skin. These are used for fingertip amputations or injuries.
2. Carpal tunnel syndrome
This is one of the most common hand surgeries that treats compression on the median nerve and tendons to relieve pressure and alleviate pain or discomfort.
3. Dupuytren’s contracture
This is a hand deformity that usually develops over many years and while it is painless, the thick ands of tissue that curl toward the palm as manifested in this disease can make it hard to hold objects. Surgery is done to release the bands and restore movement. Then, skin grafts are used if large tissues are removed.
4. Trigger finger
Often accompanied by a lump on the palm, swelling, and pain, this results in difficulty in straightening the fingers. To treat, a tiny incision is made on the palm so the tendons can slide smoothly and the fingers can be straightened.
5. Tendon repair
This is a difficult surgery involving the tendon, which is the connection of muscles to bones. This may occur due to infection, trauma, or sudden rupture. Treatment may range from primary repair which is done within 24 hours of injury, delayed primary repair which is done few days after the injury while there is opening in the skin, and secondary repair which is done 2 to 5 weeks after the injury.
6. Nerve repair
This is done by reattaching severed nerve or using a nerve graft to damage any section of the hand or wrist nerves. This should restore sensitivity and movement on the hands.
7. Closed reduction and fixation
This is a treatment for bone fractures or broken bones in the part of the hand and fingers. The broken bones will be realigned and stabilized with wires, rods, splints, and casts to heal it.
8. Surgical drainage or debridement
As a treatment for infection, this is done by surgically draining an abscess to remove the pooling of pus. This stops the infection from getting worse and promotes healing.
Also known as joint replacement, this is a treatment for people with severe arthritis. In this procedure, a worn out or malfunctioning natural joint is replaced with the use of an artificial joint that can be made out of metal, plastic, silicone, rubber, or the patient’s own body tissue such as tendon.
Depending on the condition of your hand or wrist, your plastic or reconstructive surgical team will brief you on everything needed for your surgical procedure. And before the surgery itself, administration of sedatives or medications must be done to ensure optimal comfort and safety as the treatment progresses.
Many of the most common surgeries to the hand and wrist are performed on an outpatient basis, usually with only local anesthesia involved. The process is also done quickly, taking around 20 to 30 minutes. But this differs with the extent of the injury. Because of the relatively quick process, there are usually no extensive post – treatment instructions advised.
The only thing your surgeon would advise is how long the hand should remain immobile. This will help with better and faster recovery. They would also advise on the progression of normal activities you can resume after surgery. Lastly, a course of rehabilitative therapy by a trained hand therapist may be recommended.
We understand you may want to change your plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its health implications.
All surgeries pose risks and side effects but these should be manageable with the care of a trained hand specialist. Some common risks include:
Who are the best candidates for hand surgery?
Hand surgery is best recommended to those suffering from hand injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Severe Arthritis, Dupuytren’s Contracture, and congenital hand defects.
How long will the procedure last?
Generally, it should take only around 20 to 30 minutes to complete a hand surgery. But this will definitely vary based on the plan of care along with assessments and anesthetics that are needed to be done before the treatment itself.
Will I need physical therapy after surgery?
Post-surgical rehabilitation is a vital portion of your recovery. Of course, there are several uses to the hands and a learning curve after the surgery is expected. For minor surgeries, you will learn to perform simple exercises or rehab techniques on your own as instructed by the surgeon. Otherwise, a trained physical therapist may be recommended.
What kinds of conditions can be treated with hand surgery?
Conditions that can potentially be treated by hand surgery include but are not limited to: