Hand surgery is performed to restore the structure and function of the hand and wrist. It is indicated to treat hand traumatic injuries, infection and both congenital and acquired deformities of the hand. The surgery is performed either as an emergency procedure or as an elective procedure depending on the condition and its severity.
Some of the most common procedures used for the treatment of these conditions and injuries include:
- Skin grafts and skin flaps: for coverage of open defects of the hand
- Tendon repair: This is used for the management of ruptured tendons caused by trauma or sports injury by special sutures. Preferably the surgery is performed within 24 hours of the injury, as early surgery is associated with better outcomes.
- Nerve repair: This is complex microsurgery performed to coat damaged or lacerated nerves.
- Closed reduction and fixation: It involves the realignment of the bones of the hand with the help of rods, plates, screws, wires, splints and casts.
- Arthritis treatment: removal of diseased bone or joint fusions address degenerative and inflammatory arthritis of the joint in the hand.
- Joint replacement: This involves the replacement of the joints in the fingers and the wrist with prosthetic implants for degenerative or inflammatory arthritis
Some health funds will cover hand surgery. Please check with your health plans for details.
What are the indications for hand surgery?
Conditions for which elective hand surgery is done include:
- Burn reconstruction
- Congenital deformities such as fused digits, extra digits and missing digits
- Tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendons, including De Quervain’s tendinitis of the thumb, flexor and extensor tendonitis of the wrist
- Tumours of the skin, soft tissue or bone
- Dupuytren’s contractures
- Ganglion cysts
- Trigger finger
- Compression syndromes e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, distal ulnar tunnel syndrome and pronator syndrome
Conditions that may require emergency hand surgery include:
- Tendon injuries
- Nerve or artery injuries
- Fingertip injuries
- Other traumatic or crush injuries
If my injury is at work, am I covered by workers compensation insurance?
Many of the hand injuries we see occur at the workplace. In this instance, it will be important to contact your employer to obtain insurance details including a claim number for the injury.
Do I need hand therapy?
Almost all hand surgery will need postoperative hand therapy. This is an important part of your rehabilitation and has an equal if not more important impact on your outcome that the procedure itself. Hand therapists are specialist physiotherapists or occupational therapists that provide splints, exercises and treat scar tissue to achieve a faster recovery and return to function.