Hand surgery is a specialized type of procedure that may be performed to correct a wide range of diseases, injuries and defects that may cause symptoms and/or affect the appearance of the hand. Hand surgery can be performed for both medical and cosmetic purposes. Your hand surgery procedure will be customized in order to repair your individual condition and leave your hands looking and feeling their best.
Because of their frequent use, the hands are a common location for injuries and degenerative disorders such as arthritis. Many people are born with birth defects of the hand as well. Hand surgery can restore function, relieve pain and improve the appearance of the hands for patients suffering from cysts, nerve conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, birth defects and other problems. Hand surgery may also be performed to re-attach or reconstruct severed fingers after trauma.
Effective hand surgery requires the skill and precision of an experienced surgeon, in order to successfully treat the condition and restore full function to the hand.
Hand surgery can be performed on patients of any age to correct conditions and deformities within the hands. The ideal candidates for hand surgery include patients who:
- Do not smoke
- Do not have any other serious medical conditions
- Have made the decision for surgery on their own
- Have realistic expectations for their surgery
Hand surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation, on an outpatient basis. The surgeon will make an incision to access the targeted area. Many hand procedures can be performed laparoscopically, allowing patients to benefit from smaller incisions, less bleeding and shorter recovery times.
The actual procedure will vary depending on the type and severity of each patient's individual condition, but may include:
Rheumatoid arthritis surgery – damaged tissue is removed from the joint, tendons and ligaments are repositioned, or the entire joint is replaced with a prosthetic.
Dupuytren’s contracture surgery – thickened, scar-like tissue is separated to improve range of motion and prevent nerve damage.
Grafting – transfers bones, nerves or other tissue from healthy areas of the body to the damaged area, commonly performed after trauma. After the condition is treated, the incision is closed, with or without sutures, depending on each individual patient.
Recovery & Results
After hand surgery, patients may experience mild to severe pain. Your doctor will provide you with oral medication to manage pain, if needed. The hands will usually need to be immobilized for a few days as they heal. Patients usually require a course of physical therapy in order to restore full function and range of motion to the hand.
The results of hand surgery usually appear gradually, as swelling and other side effects subside. Most patients notice significant pain relief almost immediately, while cosmetic results may take several months before they are fully visible.