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Hand Surgery: Things you need to know

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Hand Surgeons are like hand experts. They know all about the complex anatomy of our hands and how to fix them when things go wrong. In this article, we delve into the world of Hand Surgery, and everything related. Let's begin.




What is Hand Surgery?

Hand Surgery is a specialised branch of medicine that focuses on fixing issues with our hands' bones, tendons, nerves, muscles, and joints. Whether it's a broken bone from a sports injury or carpal tunnel syndrome that causes numbness and pain, Hand Surgery is there to help. 

What is the scope of Hand Surgery?

Hand surgeries can be performed to repair a wide range of problems. Here’s a list.

  • Broken Bones: If you break a bone in your hand due to a fall or accident, surgery may be required to realign the broken bones so that they can heal properly.

  • Tendon and Ligament Injuries: Surgery can be used to rebuild torn or damaged tendons or ligaments in the hand caused by trauma or misuse.

  • Cysts and tumours: Ganglion cysts are a common cause of visits to a Hand Surgeon.

  • Nerve compressions: The nerve in your wrist gets compressed when you have carpal tunnel syndrome, resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling. These symptoms can be alleviated by surgery, which will remove the strain on the nerve. 

  • Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis can affect your hand joints, causing pain, stiffness, and deformity. Surgery can repair or replace damaged joints to improve hand function.

  • Birth deformities: Some people are born with hand deformities like fused fingers or missing fingers. Surgery can correct these deformities and improve hand function and appearance.

  • Hand Infections: Severe hand infections, like deep abscesses or joint infections, may require surgery to drain the infection and remove infected tissue for proper healing.

What other approaches do Hand Surgeons adopt?

Hand Surgeons often start by doing a comprehensive examination. Here’s a list of different approaches followed by Hand Surgeons. 

  • They evaluate the state of the hand using diagnostic tools like X-rays and CT.

  • They may suggest non-surgical procedures, such as prescription drugs, splints or braces, physical therapy, occupational therapy, injections (such as corticosteroids), or other conservative treatments, depending on the diagnosis.

  • Hand Surgeons are experts in non-surgical hand therapy. Hand therapy consists of a variety of procedures and exercises designed to increase hand strength, dexterity, and range of motion. To aid healing and maximise functional results, hand therapists may employ specialised instruments and procedures.

  • Hand Surgeons may administer injections to provide relief from pain and inflammation in certain hand conditions. 

  • Hand Surgeons may employ minimally invasive techniques that involve smaller incisions, specialised instruments, and advanced imaging technology. These procedures, such as arthroscopy, can be used to diagnose and treat certain hand conditions with less tissue disruption, faster recovery, and reduced scarring compared to traditional open surgery.

When to see a Hand Surgeon?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should consult a Hand Surgeon.

  • If you experience continuous or chronic discomfort in your hand or wrist that does not improve with rest, over-the-counter pain medicines, or conservative therapy, you should visit a Hand Surgeon. They can assess the source of your discomfort and make therapy recommendations.

  • Seek emergency medical assistance if you incur a major hand or wrist injury, such as a fracture, dislocation, tendon or ligament rupture, or deep laceration. A Hand Surgeon can evaluate the damage, make a diagnosis, and determine whether surgery is required for the best healing and rehabilitation.

  • If you have trouble doing daily tasks due to restricted hand function, such as difficulty gripping things, weakness, or lack of feeling, a Hand Surgeon can examine the underlying reason and establish a treatment plan to enhance hand function.

  • If you have a chronic hand condition that affects hand function and quality of life, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis, a Hand Surgeon can provide specialised care and surgical or non-surgical treatment options to manage and improve your condition.

  • A birth defect limiting your daily activities is another example when you can consider a visit to a Hand Surgeon.

What to expect on a visit to a Hand Surgeon?

Generally, you may expect the following during a visit to a Hand Surgeon.

  • The Hand Surgeon will begin by going over your medical history. They may question you about the beginning of your symptoms, any past injuries or treatments, and any pertinent medical problems.

  • Your hand, wrist, and even your arm will be thoroughly examined. They will examine your range of motion, strength, sensitivity, and any obvious anomalies.

  • The Hand Surgeon may request further diagnostic tests to acquire more information based on your condition. X-rays, MRI scans, ultrasound imaging, and nerve conduction investigations are examples of these examinations. These tests can reveal precise information about the underlying structures and aid in proper diagnosis.

  • The Hand Surgeon will offer you a diagnosis and describe the type and severity of your disease based on the examination and diagnostic results. 

  • They will go through the many treatment choices, both surgical and non-surgical, and walk you through the possible risks, advantages, and expected outcomes of each. 

  • If surgery is required, the Hand Surgeon will give you preoperative instructions. This might include instructions on how to fast before surgery, stopping particular medicines, or arranging for any necessary preoperative testing or consultations.

  • Depending on your condition and treatment plan, the Hand Surgeon may arrange follow-up appointments to monitor your progress, assess the efficacy of the therapy, and make any required changes to the plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions on Hand Surgery.


Do patients commonly experience pain after Hand Surgery?

Pain levels after Hand Surgery can vary depending on the individual and the specific procedure. However, Hand Surgeons utilise various pain management techniques, such as medications and regional anaesthesia, to help alleviate discomfort and ensure patient comfort during the recovery period.

Is physical therapy a standard part of the recovery process for Hand Surgery?

Yes, physical therapy or hand therapy is often an integral part of the recovery process after Hand Surgery. It helps restore hand function, improve range of motion, and rebuild strength. Your Hand Surgeon may recommend a customised therapy program or refer you to a hand therapist to support your rehabilitation.

What are the possible risks and complications associated with Hand Surgery?

The risks include infection, bleeding, nerve or blood vessel damage, scarring, stiffness, and suboptimal outcomes. Your Hand Surgeon will discuss these risks with you prior to surgery and take measures to minimise them.

Will I be able to use my hand normally after the surgery?

The primary goal of Hand Surgery is to improve hand function and alleviate pain or limitations caused by a condition or injury. While outcomes vary depending on the specific case, many patients experience significant improvement in hand function following surgery. However, it's important to have realistic expectations as the extent of recovery depends on individual factors and the nature of the condition being treated.

Are noticeable scars common after Hand Surgery?

Hand Surgeons employ techniques to minimise scarrings, such as strategic incision placement or minimally invasive approaches. Proper wound care and scar management instructions, along with time, can help diminish the visibility of scars. However, it's important to note that individual healing and scar formation can vary.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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