We use our hands countless times throughout the day– whether it’s for lifting heavy items to making precise movements like buttoning up a shirt, our hands are built to handle a wide range of movements. Given the daily stresses that our hands go through, it is no surprise that injuries and wear-and-tear problems are a common occurrence.
For serious injuries or conditions that don’t respond to non-surgical treatment, your doctor may consider hand surgery. The surgical procedure recommended will depend on the extent of the damage to the bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues that make up the hands.
Read on to learn more about common hand surgeries and what they’re used for.
Carpal Tunnel Release
The carpal tunnel is a passageway that houses the median nerve. Meanwhile, the median nerve provides sensation to the thumb and fingers.
When the carpal tunnel becomes inflamed due to repetitive stress or injury, it can compress the median nerve. This can result in tingling and weakness in the fingers or hand, otherwise known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
While mild to moderate cases of carpal tunnel syndrome respond to non-surgical treatment, your hand surgeon may recommend surgery if symptoms have become debilitating. Over time, the compressed median nerve may become permanently damaged, resulting in loss of function.
During a carpal tunnel release, your surgeon will make an incision to gain access to the carpal tunnel. From there, they will cut an adjacent ligament to release the compressed nerve. During the recovery, the ligament will heal, making a wider space for the nerve.
In addition to the median nerve, two other nerves travel through the muscles and skin of your hands. These are the ulnar and radial nerves. These nerves carry signals to and from the brain to make movement and sensation possible.
If you sustain a nerve injury from an accident, trauma, or progressive strain, you may experience loss of sensation and function in the affected arm. In some cases, the nerve tissue can become torn.
The exact surgical procedure necessary will depend on the extent of the damage to the nerve. Your hand surgeon may perform a nerve repair or nerve graft depending on the circumstances. After surgery, you will need to go through physical therapy to regain function and speed up recovery.
The hand has multiple joints to allow for complex and precise movements. Unfortunately, joints are susceptible to arthritis. The most common types of arthritis that you may experience are wear-and-tear osteoarthritis or the autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis.
Hand arthritis can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. Left untreated, it may cause deformity and disability. The base of your thumb, knuckles, middle joints, and top joints of fingers nearest to the nails are the four areas most commonly affected by arthritis.
Depending on your condition, your doctor may first recommend non-surgical treatments to relieve pain and improve function. If these treatments are not effective, your doctor may consider surgery.
There are several approaches to arthritis surgery. During a joint replacement, your doctor will use an implant to replace the damaged joint. Another option is to do a tendon transfer. In this procedure, your doctor will transfer a part of your healthy tendon to restore hand function.
Your hand surgeon will discuss which surgical approach is suitable for your condition and needs.
Just like the other bones in your body, any one of the 27 bones in your hand can break or crack. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries are common causes of hand fractures. If you sustain a hand fracture, time is of the essence since the bones may not heal in proper alignment.
While non-surgical treatments are effective for minor fractures, severe breaks in the bone may warrant surgery. Depending on the extent of the damage, your hand surgeon may use pins, plates, or screws to hold the bone in place while it heals. They may also remove any loose bone fragments that could affect the surrounding area. If needed, they may use a bone graft.
Expert Hand Surgeon In Miami Lakes and Plantation, FL
Our hands are used in essentially all of our activities. That’s why it’s important to take good care of them and to seek professional help if you are injured.
For personalized and high-quality hand care, look no further than The Orthopaedic Hand and Arm Center. Our very own Dr. Tosca Kinchelow is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can diagnose and treat all kinds of upper extremity issues. Dr. Kinchelow can perform a thorough assessment and recommend the best course of action for your condition.
Should you require surgery, you can rest easy in the capable hands of Dr. Kinchelow. Our staff uses state-of-the-art surgical technology and techniques to improve clinical outcomes and cut recovery time down.
Give us a call today and let us help you take good care of your hands!