Our hands are strong yet vulnerable, as they are composed of many tiny muscles, bones, and joints. Because we use them all day every day, these small tissues and joints are naturally prone to injury and arthritis.
The best type of physician to see when your hand is hurt is an orthopedic surgeon, particularly one who specializes in treating the hands and upper extremities. This doctor will recommend and perform the least-invasive treatment methods possible that will provide relief of your hand injury or pain.
Types of Hand Surgery and What They Solve
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of hand surgery and how they can help relieve hand pain or repair a hand injury:
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
This procedure is done to treat severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed. This can impair the patient’s ability to manipulate the fingers and can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger.
There are two types of surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome: open release and endoscopic release. During an open release, the surgeon opens up the carpal tunnel via a 2-inch incision along the wrist. The carpal ligament is cut to relieve the pressure on the median nerve and to enlarge the tunnel, thereby relieving the pressure on an ongoing basis.
An endoscopic carpal tunnel release is less invasive, as the surgeon uses a tiny endoscope to open up the carpal tunnel and relieve the pressure via two half-inch incisions. After this procedure, the healing time is faster than with open release, because there is less damaged tissue that must heal.
Either surgery is quick and relatively painless and can be done on an outpatient basis.
Trigger Finger Release Surgery
This surgery is done to correct trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) if less-invasive measures do not work, such as cortisone injections. Trigger Finger occurs when the tendons in the thumb and fingers do not glide smoothly, causing the finger to catch and lock. Surgery is especially recommended when the finger or thumb remains stuck in a bent position and cannot move at all.
The main surgical option is for your surgeon to open the tendon sheath to create more room for the tendons to move. Another option is a procedure that can take place in your doctor’s office. In some cases, the tendon sheath can be safely opened with the tip of a needle. This will also create a larger tunnel for your tendons to move through with ease.
Wrist Fracture Surgery
Wrist fractures are a very common type of orthopedic injury. They occur most often as the result of a fall. The Scaphoid and the Radius bones are the two most common places for fractures. Surgery is recommended for fractures that do not heal properly or when the bones have broken in such a way that they are unlikely to remain aligned when set with a cast. There are a few options for surgery. The type of surgery that you have will depend on the location and type of your fracture.
Surgical options include procedures called an Open Reduction and Internal Fixation or an Open Reduction and External Fixation. Open Reduction and Internal Fixation refers to techniques that use surgical hardware to stabilize a fracture beneath the skin. Your surgeon will make an incision and place your bones in the proper position for healing, then secure the bones together with surgical hardware, such as pins, screws, or metal plates.
Recovery time from a wrist fracture is different for everyone. It depends on the type of fracture you had and the type of treatment you received. Your doctor will tell you what you can expect.
This is a type of joint replacement surgery, and it is mainly performed to treat severe cases of arthritis in the thumb. The surgeon will replace the thumb’s joint with prosthetic materials, which are made of medical-grade metals, plastics, and/or silicone. After it heals, the thumb should work like a natural thumb again.
A damaged nerve in your hand will cause a loss of feeling and function. It might heal on its own; if not, it may require surgery to relieve the disability and numbness.
Typically, your surgeon will operate if the gap in the injured nerve is large and therefore cannot heal without intervention. Surgery is also necessary if the injury was severe (e.g., burning or crushing of the hand).
Hand Surgery in Palm Beach County
If your hand is injured or is in chronic pain, seek the help of a skilled and experienced orthopedic physician. Dr. Steve Meadows of South Palm Orthopedics is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with advanced training in hand surgery and many years of experience in orthopedic surgery. We offer treatments for hand injuries to reduce pain and to restore function.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today at (561) 496-6622, or fill out our easy-to-use form online now. We serve the Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and the Boca Raton areas. We look forward to helping you overcome your hand problems!