Hand surgery is a blanket term that encompasses both plastic and reconstructive procedures for addressing problems and aesthetic imperfections of the hands.
Orthopedic hand surgeons are experts in hand surgery, having undergone extensive, specialized training in the treatment of injuries and conditions that affect the hand and other components of the upper extremity.
Orthopedic hand surgeons may collaborate with other medical practitioners, such as plastic surgeons, neurologists, and hand therapists, to provide comprehensive surgical care and rehabilitation to people who need to restore the function or appearance of their hands.
Reasons for Hand Reconstructive Surgery
An orthopedic hand surgeon may perform hand reconstructive surgery for various reasons, such as the following:
- Congenital hand deformities (birth defects)
- Damage/deformity to the structures in the hand resulting from arthritis, avascular necrosis (bone tissue death), and other degenerative conditions
- Mangled hand (resulting from upper extremity trauma)
- Severe infections or injuries of the hand
Common Injuries and Conditions that Hand Surgeons Treat
Although the term “hand surgeon” seems to only suggest surgical care, orthopedic hand surgeons do provide a variety of nonsurgical treatment options as well.
Listed below are some of the common hand injuries and conditions treated by a hand surgeon, using both the nonsurgical and surgical methods.
The most common types of that affect the hands are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), causing pain, swelling, and immobility to the joints in the knuckles, fingers, and wrist.
For mild to moderate cases of hand arthritis, a hand surgeon typically prescribes medications as first-line treatment and may recommend physical therapy. However, for severe cases, such as when the finger joint is bent in an unusual position (swan-neck deformity), a hand surgeon may recommend hand surgery to release, align, and balance the ligaments around the finger joint.
The bones in the hands and fingers are just as susceptible to fracture as many other bones in the body.
Nonsurgical treatment options for hand fracture include cast, splint, and brace. However, there are instances when even after reduction and immobilization with a cast or splint, the bones can still shift. An orthopedic hand surgeon will monitor the progress using X-rays. If the bones do move, surgery to hold your bones in place—using plates, rods, or screws—will likely be required.
The surgical option is also necessary in cases of open fracture; when loose bone fragments may enter a joint; or when there’s damage to the surrounding nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments.
Hand infections can develop due to an injury, animal bite, puncture wound, cellulitis (bacterial infection of the inner layers of the skin), among other causes.
An orthopedic hand surgeon will usually prescribe antibiotics and other medications. For severe cases, as mentioned, surgery may be required to prevent complications, such as destruction of the soft tissues and poor wound healing.
Highly Skilled Hand Surgeon in Boca Raton, FL
If you have symptoms of a hand injury or disorder that don’t respond to basic remedies, schedule an appointment with our board-certified orthopedic hand surgeon, Dr. Steve Meadows at South Palm Orthopedics.
Dr. Meadows combines state-of-the-art technology with his own extensive experience and expertise to provide exceptional hand and wrist care to the people in the Boca Raton area and surrounding communities.
Once Dr. Meadows confirms that you’re a candidate for a hand reconstructive surgery, he will educate you on how to prepare for and go about the procedure to ensure a successful outcome. Nonetheless, he will make sure to exhaust all conservative treatment approaches—including stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy—before recommending surgery.