Orthopedic hand surgery or simply hand surgery is a branch in medicine that covers a broad spectrum of procedures. It is composed of different types of surgery that encompasses the ultimate goal of bringing functionality back to the hand. Plastic surgeons who perform this kind of surgery has goal of restoring part or if able, full usability of the upper extremities, especially then hand and fingers. However, they not only perform this for the purpose of gaining function, but they also want to make the hand look as normal as possible, as opposed to not having surgery.
Orthopedic hand surgery is done for plenty of reasons. These reasons include hand injuries, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to name some rheumatic diseases, and to treat and change some of the innate damages inside the structures of the hand. Sometimes, inside our hands are structures that degenerate due to some underlying disease, which make it detrimental to a person’s overall health. The goal of the surgeon for this type of reason is to treat the structure and restore it. Other reasons include congenital defects or defects that have been there since birth and infections that result from another disease of condition or trauma.
Hands surgeries are a set of procedures. There are many different types of orthopedic hand surgeries. These include:
- Skin grafts
Skin grafts can be made in any part of the body covered in skin. This is a procedure involving attaching skin from another part and replacing it in the place of the skin missing in the hand. Most often, this type of surgery involves finger amputations, trauma, or injuries. Skin attached to another part should come from healthy skin from another area, called a donor site; the healthy skin is then attached to the affected site in the hand.
- Skin flaps
This procedure involves fixing a part of the hand that has extensive damage to the vessels or tissue. Skin flaps, like skin grafts, involve taking a healthy part of skin from another area of the body but with the underlying vessels with it. This is to give the injured area adequate blood supply due to trauma or damage.
- Closed reduction and fixation
This procedure is done when there is a bone fracture, a broken bone whether in the hand itself or the fingers. The ultimate goal of this surgery is to realign the bone and hold it in place to give it time to heal, also involving immobilization of the hand. To remain immobile, the fixtures can be done with wires, splints, casts, or rods.
- Tendon repair
This type of surgery has a degree of high difficulty because of the fact that tendons are complicated structures. Infection, trauma, or rupture could cause a tendon to be come damaged. Three types of tendon repair exists: primary, delayed, primary, or secondary.
- Nerve repairs
The nerves of the hand can become damaged especially if there is blunt trauma involved. These traumas may lead to loss of sensitivities or even loss of function. Typically, the surgery occurs two to three weeks after the incident.
This is a hand surgery procedure that is done to help compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome is the condition wherein there is swelling or pressure that is trapped in a small space in the body, usually caused by an injury. If left untreated, this injury can lead to more serious conditions, and cause a change in color in the fingers or nailbeds.
Other types are:
- Surgical drainage
- Joint replacement
All these range from easy to complex types of hand surgery. If you have a trauma or damage in your hand, it is best to consult your doctor about it.