Your hands play an important role in most normal day-to-day activities such as driving, working, or even preparing a meal. If you are experiencing hand pain or you are unable to carry out daily activities, it may be time to talk to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery.
Hand surgery may be the solution when other nonsurgical treatments have been unable to relieve your painful or disabling symptoms in your hand. An orthopedist can recommend and perform the most minimally invasive surgical treatment possible.
Hand Conditions that May Require Surgery
A number of conditions and injuries can lead to pain or limited function in the hands. One common hand condition is arthritis, which can cause joint pain, stiffness, immobility, and swelling. Other common hand conditions include:
- Tendon disorders (trigger thumb/finger, tendonitis, tenosynovitis)
- Tendon injuries (flexor/extensor injuries, mallet finger, boutonniere deformity)
- Hand fractures
- Nerve injuries or disorders (carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome)
- Sports-/work-related hand injuries (sprains, skier’s thumb)
Following diagnosis and depending on the severity of the hand pain or disability, your doctor will likely try a number of different nonsurgical treatments first. These can include specialized hand therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, splinting, and medication.
Hand surgery may be recommended if these treatments prove unsuccessful. Surgery can reduce painful symptoms and return functionality back to the hand.
Types of Hand Surgery
There are many different types of surgeries performed on the hands. Some of the most frequently performed hand surgeries are the following:
Tendon Repair Surgery
Tendons (the strong connective tissues that attach muscles to adjacent bones) that have been injured or damaged can make you experience pain, inflammation, and sometimes a total loss of hand movement. Nonsurgical treatments for tendon conditions include splinting the affected area, rest, and hand therapy.
However, if these are unsuccessful, surgery may be required to repair damage to the tendon. This should help to improve function and reduce or eliminate pain in the hand.
Depending on the severity and location of the hand fracture (broken bone), surgery may be necessary to ensure it heals properly. Most minor fractures (where the bone fragments have not moved out of place) are treated nonsurgically and just require rest, pain relief medication, and splinting until the fracture heals.
For more serious hand fractures, surgery may be required to realign the bones to ensure the bone fragments heal together correctly. Surgical hardware such as screws and plates may be used to hold the bone fragments together while they heal. If a bone in the hand has been shattered or crushed, a bone graft may be necessary to fill the gaps.
Nerve Repair Surgery
Nerves in the hand can get damaged as the result of an injury or condition that causes continuous pressure or stretching of the nerves. Some nerve injuries may heal on their own, but more severe nerve injuries will require surgical repair. Common symptoms of nerve damage in the hand include a numbing sensation, pain, and weakness.
Joint Replacement Surgery
When a joint deteriorates or is injured, joint replacement surgery (also known as arthroplasty) may be necessary if less-invasive methods of treatment have proved unsuccessful. This may also be the optimal solution if pain and mobility of the hand or fingers have become increasingly problematic.
Joint replacement surgery involves replacing damaged sections of the joint with artificial parts, or prosthetics. A joint replacement can significantly improve function in the joint and reduce painful symptoms.
Surgery for Arthritis
Arthritis is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. It can cause severe pain and swelling in joints, and it can become disabling so the hand and/or fingers cannot move. Surgery may be recommended when nonsurgical treatments such as medication and therapy no longer provide relief from arthritis pain.
There are different surgical options depending on the type and severity of the arthritis and your overall general health. The most common surgical procedures for hand arthritis include:
- Synovectomy – Removing the diseased or damaged lining of the joint (synovium)
- Osteotomy – Realigning the bones in a joint
- Joint fusion – Fusing the bones in the joint together to prevent joint motion and thereby relieve pain
- Arthroplasty – Joint replacement surgery for advanced arthritis
Hand Specialists in Maryland
If you are experiencing pain or reduced mobility in your hand, talk to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hands to get the right diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The hand experts at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder perform a wide variety of procedures to help restore function in your hand and reduce painful symptoms.
Schedule a consultation today with one of our orthopedic hand surgeons by calling (410) 296-6232 or by filling out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back to your normal activities, pain-free, as soon as possible!