Hand Surgery

Also known as: surgery of the hand.

Who can practice hand surgery?

Hand surgery encompasses a variety of different surgical procedures that can address different problems with the hand and arm. The surgery is intended to restore the normal strength, function and/or flexibility of the structures of the hand and arm.

Who can practice hand surgery?

While general, orthopedic, and plastic surgeons receive training in hand surgery, some graduates complete an additional one-year hand fellowship. Regardless of their original field of training, surgeons who have completed an approved fellowship in hand surgery have received training necessary to treat injuries to both the bones and soft tissues of the hand and upper extremity.

This includes a wide variety of operations, such as fracture repairs, tendon releases, transfers and repairs, reconstruction of joint injuries, and congenital defects.

Hand surgeons also perform microsurgical reattachment of amputated digits and limbs, microsurgical reconstruction of soft tissues and bone, nerve reconstruction, and surgery to improve function in paralyzed upper limbs.

What happens during the procedure?

Hand surgery procedures vary based on the nature of the surgery. The procedures are typically performed under some form of anesthesia. A tourniquet is often used to minimize blood loss and allow for identification of fine structures. The surgeon will usually use magnifying glasses (also known as loupes) to identify small structures in the hand and arm. Sometimes, the surgeon will use a microscope to identify and repair very small structures that require repair, like the arteries and nerves in the fingers. The sutures (stitches) used for repair of these very small, microscopic structures are finer than a human hair.

Is any special preparation needed?

Like preparation for any operation that may require anesthesia, preparation for hand surgery usually requires the patient to not eat or drink anything for a period of time prior to surgery.  If the patient has any medical problems, the pediatrician and/or anesthesiologist may need to perform an evaluation prior to surgery.

What are the risk factors?

Infection, bleeding, pain, swelling, changes in sensation, scarring and injury to surrounding organs and tissues are all potential risks of hand surgery.

Reviewed by: Aaron J Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: June 21, 2022 02:19 PM

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