The hand has 27 bones and a number of veins, muscles, arteries, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. Pain can occur in any part of the hand, and depending on the underlying cause of the pain, there are different hand surgical procedures that can be performed. These include carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, and ganglion cyst removal.
These surgeries often effectively restore control, range of motion, and the patient’s ability to return to their usual work and activities without pain. To learn more, contact the helpful staff at Pearwood Plastic Surgery today to schedule a free consultation.
- 1 About Hand Surgery
- 2 What Can Hand Surgery Do for Me?
- 3 Candidates
- 4 Your Consultation
- 5 Your Procedure
- 6 Recovery
- 7 Results
- 8 Price
About Hand Surgery
No matter the source of your pain or limited mobility, Dr. Kevin Murphy will be able to help you determine if and which hand surgery is right for you. Pain and immobility in the hands can be caused by a wide variety of issues, which can be related to the health of the tendons, joints, or cartilage, or the formation of scar tissue. An accurate diagnosis is an important part of a successful procedure. It is important to receive your hand surgery from a skilled, Board-Certified surgeon and orthopedist, like Dr. Murphy.
Hand surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Recovery can take several months, but the improvement in both comfort and function are well worth the time.
What Can Hand Surgery Do for Me?
Not every hand-related issue needs to be immediately treated with a surgical procedure. However, if alternative options for addressing the patient’s issue fail to provide relief after a six month period, a surgery can help restore healthy, comfortable motor function.
Hand surgery is capable of addressing a wide variety of conditions that affect patient’s hands, including but not limited to:
Carpal Tunnel Release
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when pressure on the median nerve, which runs from your forearm and through your wrist, results in tingling, numbness, discomfort, or a loss of strength in the patient’s thumb and palm. A fracture, overuse, rheumatoid arthritis, and unfortunately, genetics, can all eventually irritate or press the median nerve until the patient begins experiencing this pain, weakness, or loss of feeling.
There are two surgical options for a Carpal Tunnel Release.
The doctor can opt for open surgery, during which they would make an incision roughly two inches from the wrist to the palm. This would allow them to access the ligament responsible for the pressure on the median nerve. During this procedure, your surgeon will cut the patient’s ligament, but it will grow back together. When it re-grows, the ligament will no longer exert the same pressure on the median nerve.
Alternatively, a Carpal Tunnel Release may best be best performed by an endoscopic surgery, during which your surgeon will create two small incisions in the patient’s wrist and/or forearm. A tiny camera will be inserted to give the visibility required to cut the ligament.
Before a patient opts for Carpal Tunnel Release surgery, their doctor may recommend they try an alternative, non-surgical solution first.
If the prescribed brace, corticosteroids, or other treatment options doesn’t improve the patient’s Carpal Tunnel after six months, their doctor may finally suggest a hand surgery so that they can return to their daily comfortable function without issue.
Patients experiencing numbness and tingling in their ring or pinky finger, or who are having trouble controlling their fingers, may alternatively have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. This issue is caused by pressure on the Ulnar nerve, which runs from your neck to your hand. The ligament creating pressure on the nerve is once again cut during the treatment, but the incision is made in the region of the elbow known as the “funny bone.”
The nerves in our hands relay sensations of pain and heat to our brains, as well as messages regarding muscle control. Whether because of injury, overuse, or age, our nerves can wear down or even tear. Signs of nerve damage in the hands include weakness, numbness, or pain. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common type of nerve damage, though it is not the only type patients can experience. If the damage is in the early stages, stretching, bracing, or resting the hand may allow the nerve enough time to heal itself over a period. Sometimes, if the wear on the nerve is advanced enough, or the nerve has snapped, surgery may be required.
The recovery period from a nerve repair procedure will vary based on the age and health of the patient.
Trigger Finger Release
Without treatment, fingers can eventually lock permanently into the curled position.
Trigger Finger refers to the locking of the index or multiple fingers into a curled position. This is usually caused by swelling of the area around the flexor tendon, which is the tendon responsible for the pull or curl of the finger. The locked sensation, which can be both painful and limiting, can sometimes be relieved with ice, exercises, rest, appropriate bracing, anti-inflammatory medications, or a steroid injection. If these options do not improve the patient’s sensation and mobility, they may be advised to undergo a surgical procedure.
Trigger Finger Release surgery can be performed via an incision, or with a needle, depending on the patient’s presenting issues. The surgeon relieves the stiffened finger by splitting the inflamed sheath through which the tendon is struggling to pass.
If a patient additionally suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, the doctor may opt to remove the tendon sheath completely.
Relieve Osteo- and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis can occur with age, injury, or the stress of carrying excess weight on the body. Osteoarthritis refers to the stiffening of the joints due to cartilage deterioration, while rheumatoid arthritis diagnoses an autoimmune issue that leads the body to attack its own joint tissue, or even go so far as to attack its own internal organs.
Some patients are able to successfully relieve arthritis in their hands with Tylenol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, acupuncture, or cortisol injections, combined with an anti-inflammatory diet.
If these efforts do not relieve the patient’s osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis, however, a doctor may decide hand surgery will be their best source of relief.
Arthritis in the hands can be relieved through a joint fusion surgery, or by a total knuckle replacement. During a fusion procedure, your surgeon will remove damaged cartilage from between the joints in your hands. This will enable the bones to fuse together. Based on the patient’s individual needs, bone, or an equivalent synthetic material, may additionally be inserted between the joints. The surgeon may fuse together the joints with metal plates, screws, or wires. While fusing the joints together relieves the pain for the patient, the fusion results in stiffer, more limited hand mobility for the patient. Most recipients of the procedure decide that curing their pain is worth the reduced mobility.
Depending on the patient, the surgeon may recommend flexible silicone rubber, or ball and socket joints made out of metal and plastic.
A total knuckle replacement is another effective way of relieving arthritis in the patient’s hands. The surgeon will determine how many knuckles and joints will need to be removed in order to relieve the patient’s pain and restore their hand function. Patients must keep their hands in a splint for at least two weeks, after which they may have two to three months of physical therapy to help them make their recovery.
While knuckle joint replacement is most often performed to treat osteoarthritis, Dr. Murphy may recommend knuckle replacement as the best option for patients looking to address other hand-related issues as well.
Ganglion Cyst Removal
A ganglion cyst is a non-cancerous, fluid-filled lump that most commonly forms on patient’s hands and wrists, but can also occur on their knees or feet. While these cysts can appear without inconveniencing the patient, these cysts often press down on the patient’s nerve or limit their joint mobility. Some patients have success putting their cystic wrist or hand in a brace, which limits the pain caused by the cyst’s pressing the nerve. This can cause the cyst to shrink or disappear entirely. Unfortunately, not all patients find relief through this option. Likewise, patients who opt to have their cyst ablated and drained may find temporary relief, but often see their cyst return.
Ganglion cyst removal is performed on an outpatient basis. The patient receives a local anesthetic and the surgeon removes the cyst with targeted incisions. The affected joint will be once again pain-free and free to move.
Relieve Dupuytren’s Contracture
Dupuytren’s Contracture refers to bands that form within a patient’s palm and sometimes fingertips. These bands can thicken and tighten over time, pulling the fingers toward the patient’s palm and restricting their range of motion. If the contracture reaches the fingers, they may bend permanently or lose flexibility.
If caught early enough, Dupuytren’s Contracture can be treated with steroid or enzyme injections, or simply with stretching.
Hand surgery is the most successful option for patients who want to relieve their pain and restore their function. Dupuytren’s Contracture can be corrected with a fasciotomy, a process in which Dr. Murphy trims the connective tissues responsible for the tension in the hand. If the contracture is more advanced, he will perform a fasciectomy, during which all connective tissue will be removed. This may be achieved with an incision or with a needle, depending on the patient’s case.
Unfortunately, even after a successful procedure, the contracture can potentially re-develop in the patient’s hands in the future. Patients are advised to keep regular check-ups with their doctor to prevent advanced development.
A patient may need their tendons repaired for a variety of reasons: a deep cut, a sports injury, an animal bite, or extreme rheumatoid arthritis.
Injury to the extensor tendon can be repaired by the surgeon’s making incisions in the wrist, hand, or finger, which allow them to access the divided tendon and repair it. Patients generally only require local anesthetic when they undergo this procedure. A flexor tendon repair is more involved and is often performed with the patient under general anesthetic.
Other reasons to undergo a hand surgery include but are not limited to a stress fracture, Schleroderma, treatment of mallet finger (baseball finger), and Kienbock’s Disease.
Ideal candidates for a hand surgery are those who:
- Are non-smokers
- Are in overall good health and do not have a pre-existing condition which could interfere with their recovery
- Are open to the outcomes of a restorative surgery
- Are willing to follow their doctor’s instructions for the entirety of your recovery period
Hand surgery can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments and conditions affecting a patient’s hands. Dr. Murphy will be able to advise patients on their candidacy for a hand surgery during their complimentary consultation.
Dr. Murphy strives to make every consultation as comfortable, effective, and informational as possible for every patient. After assessing the patient’s medical history, their overall lifestyle, and their showing symptoms of pain, numbness, or mobility issues, he will be able to identify if they are at the point where they should pursue hand surgery. The details of each surgery will vary on a case-by-case basis.
His years of experience in both orthopedic and plastic surgery make Dr. Murphy an expert in a wide variety of reconstructive hand surgeries. Call Pearwood Plastic Surgery today to find out more about how this procedure can relieve the pain, numbness, or immobility in your hands.
Most hand surgeries are performed on an out-patient basis. The majority of hand surgeries can be received under local anesthetic, though in some cases general anesthesia may be recommended.
Each patient’s hand surgery will skillfully target and repair the specific component or components of the hand responsible for the patient’s pain and dehabilitation. This surgery has the ability to repair a nerve or tendon, remove unwanted tissue, or implement implants and other support devices in the hands.
Dr. Murphy and his team will make sure every patient’s procedure is not only comfortable to experience but also reliably delivers improvements to the patient’s hand function that they can enjoy for years.
It is recommended that patients prepare for their recovery from hand surgery. Create a home environment that will ease your healing. For example, take steps to transfer items from jars to Ziplocs, and preparing food ahead of time for yourself. It is highly advisable to seek assistance from friends or family at this time. Do not drive yourself home after your procedure.
Some patients will require three months’ time to heal after their surgery, followed by three to six months of physical therapy before they are able to enjoy their restored hand function. Other procedures may only require six weeks’ recovery time, with a few months of physical therapy to promote their healthy healing. Your doctor will be able to advise you concerning how much time you may need to take off from your work or usual activities.
While a patient’s recovery period depends on their particular surgical treatment, every patient leaves Pearwood Plastic Surgery feeling confident in the weeks to come. Patients will be given instructions regarding the care of their bandages and brace, as well as what medications and precautions they can take to ensure a successful, infection-free recovery. They will also be notified of when they will return to have any stitches removed.
The helpful team at Pearwood Plastic Surgery makes sure they are always ready and available to answer any questions a patient may have regarding their recovery!
The results of a patient’s surgery will become more evident throughout their recovery and physical therapy. The pain relief this procedure provides should be experienced shortly after any incisions heal and bruising subsides. After they have healed from their surgery, patients will be able to see an improvement in their ability to once again use their hands, without pain.
The cost of a patient’s hand surgery will vary depending on the specifics of their procedure. After a patient’s consultation, the friendly staff at Pearwood Plastic Surgery will provide a breakdown of the cost of their treatment plan.
As a hand surgery is usually considered a medical necessity, patients with health insurance can find that their insurance covers part or all of a hand surgery.