Hand & Wrist
Common Hand and Wrist Conditions and Surgical Treatments
Hand surgery is a specialized procedure that may be performed to correct a wide range of diseases, injuries, and defects affecting the function and appearance of the hand. It can be performed for both medical and cosmetic purposes.
The orthopedic hand surgeons on Long Island and at SI Ortho offices will customize your procedure to repair your individual condition and leave your hands looking and feeling their best.
Hand Surgery Procedures
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. The actual procedure will vary depending on the type and severity of each patient’s individual condition.
Arthritis can occur in any joint, causing swelling, pain, and poor range of motion. There are many types, but osteoarthritis is most common. This is the arthritis that results from wear and tear in joint tissue, either from aging or an injury. Rheumatoid arthritis is another common type, triggered by an immune system reaction.
Corrective hand surgery for rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis is always tailored to the individual patient. Options include joint reconstruction and joint fusion. Fusing the joints restricts movement, but minimizes pain. For severe cases, a wrist or hand joint replacement surgery might be needed.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive motion condition. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs down the arm and into the hand, gets compressed. Carpal tunnel causes tingling, numbness, and pain in the forearm and hand.
When conservative treatments—rest, splinting, exercises, injections—no longer provide relief, surgery is an option. Surgeons split a ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve as it runs through the carpal tunnel. This helps relieve the pain and tingling of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Surgery
Dupuytren’s disease or contracture occurs when the fascia in the palm and fingers thickens and tightens. Fascia is connective tissue under the skin. The tightening pulls fingers in toward the palm, which over time, restricts movement in and use of the hand. The condition causes nodules in the palm or fingers, as well as thickened cords of tissue under the skin.
Surgery for Dupuytren’s aims to reduce the tension in the fascia and restore hand function. This procedure involves separating the thickened, scar-like tissue and cords of fascia to improve range of motion and prevent nerve damage.
Fractures in the hand and fingers are broken bones that can result from trauma including: accidents, sports injuries, or repetitive stress. Even small fractures can cause dysfunction in the hand. The bones are small and line up precisely, so any changes caused by fractures have significant consequences and often require surgery.
Fortunately, most hand fractures can be treated with minimally invasive pinning using local or regional block anesthesia as an outpatient. Surgeons use small pins, plates, and wires to hold bones in the correct position as they heal.
Fingers that lock in a flexed position are known as trigger fingers. These usually are caused by inflammation or swelling around the tendon that flexes the finger. The condition is also called stenosing tenosynovitis. A common cause is a sports injury that puts a lot of force on the finger.
Non-surgical treatment for trigger finger involves rest, splinting, exercises, and a steroid injection to reduce inflammation in the area that is causing the locking. Some patients need trigger release surgery. It involves dividing the tissue that is restricting tendon movement in the finger.
Common Questions About Hand and Wrist Surgery
It’s normal to feel anxious about undergoing any type of surgery, especially one involving the hands you use every day. Your surgeon can answer all your questions to put your mind at ease.
How Painful Is Hand Surgery?
Your surgical team, including an anesthesiologist, will administer anesthesia to be sure you feel no pain during the procedure. Because the hand is sensitive and contains a lot of nerves, you can expect pain after surgery. Your surgeon will suggest or prescribe pain relievers that you can use during recovery.
How Long Is a Wrist Surgery Procedure?
Most wrist and hand surgeries are much faster than patients realize. It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the situation. Most of these procedures are outpatient, meaning you can go home the same day.
Recovery And 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 often require a course of physical therapy in order to restore full function and range of motion to the hand.