Orthopedic Hand Surgery
Hand surgery is field of orthopedics dealing with conditions and treatments related to the hand and the connected forearm and upper arm. Hand surgeons may have studied general surgery, orthopedic surgery or plastic surgery. However, hand surgery patients usually go to orthopedic surgeons because they have highly specialized training.
Orthopedic surgeons treat a variety of conditions and injuries in the musculoskeletal system, but some orthopedic surgeons specialize in hand surgery. Orthopedic surgeons specializing in hand surgery probably completed a medical fellowship and took a qualifying hand surgery examination. The hand surgery examination is sometimes known as “CAQSH,” which stands for “Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand.”
The training of an orthopedic hand specialist prepares the surgeon for even the most severe hand injuries by ensuring that the surgeon understands the intricate mechanics of the hands muscles and tendons. In the case of accidental or medically necessary amputation of the hand or fingers, orthopedic surgeons attempt to salvage as much of the appendage as possible. The surgeon may attempt to save or reconstruct the hand’s muscles, tendons and even bone.
Carpel tunnel syndrome is a fairly common cause for hand physical therapy or hand surgery. Patients often contract carpel tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive wrist motions, wrist force or wrist vibration. Carpel tunnel syndrome isn’t always caused by motion or force; sometimes it develops as a result of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism and amyloidosis.
The syndrome is actually a compression of the carpal tunnel, which is a passageway that connects the nerves and tendons of the wrist to the palm of the hand. Pain and numbness may occur when motion or disease compresses the tunnel. To treat carpel tunnel syndrome, orthopedic surgeons evaluate the severity of the condition and then recommend hand braces, localized corticosteroid injections, or carpel tunnel release surgery for acute cases. Carpel tunnel release surgery involves dividing the carpal ligament (which runs across the base of the hand) in two so that it no longer presses on the nerves inside of the hand. This is usually enough to relieve the pain and numbness associated with the condition.
Not all contact with an orthopedic surgeon results in surgery. Orthopedic surgeons assess the hand’s musculoskeletal condition and then suggest a treatment to repair damages from injuries or manage a condition caused by illness. Often, the treatment doesn’t require surgery and the orthopedic surgeon oversees the patient’s rehabilitation and physical therapy.