Select Page

TYPES OF HAND SURGERY

If your hand is impaired in any way, surgery may improve your condition. This type of very specialised surgery can treat diseases that cause pain and impair the strength, function and flexibility of your wrist and fingers.

Surgery seeks to restore to near normal the function of fingers and hands injured by trauma or to correct abnormalities that were present at birth.

Specifically, hand surgery can treat:

Carpal tunnel syndrome: a condition caused by pressure to the median nerve within the wrist, or carpal tunnel. You might feel pain, a tingling sensation, numbness of the fingers, weakness or aching. Carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with multiple conditions including: repetitive motion or overuse, fluid retention during pregnancy, injury to the nerve in the carpal tunnel or rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis: a disabling disease that can cause severe inflammation in any joint of the body. In the hand, it can deform fingers and impair movement.

Dupuytren’s contracture: a disabling hand disorder in which thick, scar-like tissue bands form within the palm and may extend into the fingers. It can cause restricted movement, bending the fingers into an abnormal position.

Hand surgery might be an option for you if:

  • You do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
  • You are a non-smoker
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for your hand surgery
  • You are committed to following your plastic surgeon and hand therapist’s prescribed course of treatment
  • In some conditions, hand surgery is necessary to treat wounds and to help painful conditions

Your plastic surgeon may recommend one or a combination of techniques to achieve your goals. Some of those techniques include: microsurgery, grafting of skin, bone, nerves or other tissue from healthy parts of the body, z-plasty and physical therapy.

Hand surgery recovery

After surgery, bandages or dressings may be applied to keep the surgical site clean and splints may be used when needed. You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your hand following surgery, medications to take to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period. Follow all postoperative instructions including cleansing, taking prescribed medications and hand therapy exercises.

Therapy is critical to restoring strength, flexibility and movement. If you attempt to return to normal function too soon, the risk of re-injury is possible. Continue your hand therapy regimen and attend follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon as scheduled. This is essential to a successful outcome.

The end result of your hand surgery is directly related to following your therapist’s and plastic surgeon’s instructions.

Hand surgery risks and safety information

The decision to have hand surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Dr Sharp will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery.

You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo, the alternatives and the most likely risks and potential complications from hand surgery.

Some of the risks of hand surgery include:

- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Blood clots
- Infection
- Anesthesia risks
- Unfavorable scarring
- Change in skin sensation
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration/swelling
- Poor healing of incisions
- Unexpected hand swelling
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Damage to deeper structures — such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs — can occur and may be temporary or permanent
- Pain, which may persist
- Possibility of revisional surgery

Additional risks associated with these specific surgeries include:

Carpal tunnel
- Non-improvement
- Recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome

Extensor tendon
- Additional incisions necessary because cut tendons may retract
- Failure of tendon repair
- Inability to restore function
- Tendon scarring

Flexor tendon
- Additional incisions necessary because cut tendons may retract
- Inability to restore function
- Tendon scarring

Tenolysis
- Abnormal tendon position
- Additional incisions necessary where scarring
occurs or to make new incisions to release
scar tissue that is limiting tendon motion
- Inability to restore function
- Recurrent tendon scarring
- Rupture of tendon
- Seroma (fluid accumulation)
- Wound breakdown

Trigger finger
- Non-improvement
- Tendon scarring

Your hand surgery consultation

The success and safety of your hand procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your hand surgery consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Be prepared to discuss:

- Why you want the procedure, your expectations and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries

Hand surgery words to know:

- Carpal tunnel syndrome: A condition caused by pressure to the median nerve within the wrist or carpal tunnel causing pain, tingling and numbness.
- Dupuytren’s contracture: A disabling hand disorder in which thick, scar-like tissue bands form within the palm and may extend into the fingers. It can cause restricted movement, bending the fingers into an abnormal position.
- Extensor tendon: A tendon which serves to extend a bodily part.
- Flexor tendon: A tendon which serves to bend a body part.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Grafting: Tissue taken from other parts of the body.
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
- Microsurgery: High magnification to repair or reconnect severed nerves and tendons, common in trauma cases and often used to reattach severed fingers or limbs.
- Polydactyly: The presence of extra fingers.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: A disabling disease that can cause severe inflammation in any joint of the body. In the hand, it can deform fingers and impair movement.
- Syndactyly: When fingers are fused together.
- Tendon: A tough cord or band of dense white fibrous connective tissue that unites a muscle with some other part.
- Tenolysis: A surgical procedure to free a tendon from surrounding adhesions.
- Trigger finger: An abnormal condition in which flexion or extension of a finger may be momentarily obstructed by spasm followed by a snapping into place.
- Z-plasty: A surgical incision technique that creates small triangular flaps of tissue that help to close wounds over areas of the hand where bending or flexing is essential to function, such as around knuckles.

Call Now Button