Hand surgery is a branch of surgery that involves surgical interventions to treat problems related to the hands and wrists. Hand surgery is performed to correct or treat disorders related to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves in the hand.
Hand surgery encompasses a wide range of procedures involving various conditions. These include correcting fractures, repairing tendon injuries, relieving nerve compressions, treating carpal tunnel syndrome, removing tumors in the hand, treating degenerative diseases of the hand, and hand reconstruction.
Hand surgery is typically performed by a hand surgeon. These specialists have received specialized training in hand and upper extremity anatomy, hand surgery techniques, and microsurgery. Depending on the patient’s condition and the nature of the problem, hand surgery procedures may employ different techniques and methods. Surgeries are generally performed under local anesthesia, and sometimes general anesthesia may be required.
The goal of hand surgery is to improve hand and wrist function, alleviate pain, and enable patients to return to their daily lives. Therefore, hand surgery is commonly preferred to treat problems related to conditions such as injuries, fractures, repetitive motion injuries, degenerative diseases, or congenital anomalies.
Hand and Finger Amputations: Hand and finger amputations refer to the complete or partial detachment of the hand or fingers in an accident or traumatic event. Such injuries require immediate medical intervention. Surgery typically involves the reattachment of the severed tissues and restoration of function. Depending on the severity of the injury, bone, tendon, nerve, and vascular injuries may also be repaired.
Tendon Injuries: Tendons are the connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. Tendon injuries in the hand refer to situations where the tendon is partially or completely torn. These injuries often occur as a result of accidents, sports activities, or repetitive motions. Treatment typically involves surgical intervention and aims to repair or reattach the torn tendon. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are also commonly used to support the healing process.
Nerve Injuries: Nerve injuries occur when the nerves in the hand are damaged. These injuries often result from cuts, fractures, or traumatic events. Nerve injuries can lead to symptoms such as loss of sensation, muscle weakness, or loss of movement. Treatment may involve repairing the nerve or reconnecting the damaged section. Since nerve regeneration is a slow process, special exercises are used to promote rehabilitation and nerve healing.
Vascular Injuries: Vascular injuries refer to damage to the blood vessels in the hand. These injuries often occur as a result of cuts, fractures, or traumatic events. They can lead to severe consequences such as bleeding or obstruction of blood flow. Treatment involves repairing or reconnecting the damaged vessel. Surgery may be required to repair the vessel or use grafts for the restoration.
Nerve compression is the condition where a nerve is compressed, squeezed, or irritated by surrounding tissues. This compression disrupts the normal communication of the nerve and can lead to various symptoms.
The most common nerve compression condition in the hand is carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a structure located in the wrist through which the median nerve passes. In carpal tunnel syndrome, this nerve becomes compressed and subjected to pressure. This condition typically manifests with pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the wrist area. Symptoms may worsen, especially at night or after prolonged use of the hand.
Nerve compression can generally occur due to the following reasons:
Compression of a structure or canal, as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, where a structure or canal narrows or becomes inflamed, leading to nerve compression. Nerve irritation and compression caused by repetitive movements. Nerve compression resulting from a traumatic event, fracture, dislocation, or injury. Pressure on the nerve due to inflammation or swelling.
The treatment for nerve compression can vary depending on the underlying cause. Conservative treatment methods include rest, the use of wrist splints, medication, physical therapy, and hand exercises. These can help alleviate symptoms and relieve the pressure on the nerve.
However, in some cases, if the symptoms are severe or do not respond to conservative treatments, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical options involve procedures to widen the area where the nerve is compressed, reduce the pressure, or release the nerve.
Frequently Asked Questions
1- Does hand surgery cause pain?
Hand surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia, so you won’t feel pain during the surgery. However, mild pain, swelling, and discomfort are normal after the surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to manage post-operative pain.
2- How long does hand surgery take?
The duration of hand surgery varies depending on the procedure being performed and the severity of the problem. A simple procedure may take a few minutes, while a complex operation can last several hours. Your surgeon will provide you with an estimated surgery time specific to your case.
3- How long does it take to recover after hand surgery?
The recovery process depends on the type of surgery, the complexity of the procedure, and individual factors. After a simple hand surgery, the recovery period can take a few weeks. More complex procedures or conditions requiring reconstructive surgery may prolong the recovery time. Your surgeon will provide you with more specific information about the recovery process.
4- What kind of restrictions will I have after hand surgery?
There may be specific restrictions during the post-operative period. Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions on what you should and shouldn’t do after the surgery. It is important to follow these instructions. For example, you may need to avoid heavy lifting, certain activities, or sports.
5- When can I return to normal daily activities after hand surgery?
The time to return to normal daily activities varies depending on the type of surgery, your healing pace, and your surgeon’s instructions. After a simple procedure, you may be able to resume normal activities within a few days. In cases requiring more complex surgical interventions, the recovery period may be longer. Your surgeon will inform you when you can return to normal activities.