Category : Hand Surgery

Hand Hand Surgery Opioids Pain Surgery

Ask a Doctor: What to Expect After Surgery

Dr. Ekkehard Bonatz answers your questions about what to expect after you’ve had hand surgery.

Q: I’ve been told I will have a cast, splint, or brace. What does that mean?

A: Many surgeries require a short time of protection to allow your body to start its recovery from your procedure.  Leaving surgery, your hand, wrist, or forearm may be wrapped with a bulky dressing. Surgeons will frequently include a splint as a part of the dressing. It is a rigid part of the dressing that is intended to protect the surgical repair and add to comfort.  A splint typically covers only part of the surgical area, leaving some room for swelling.  Depending on what is needed for your particular surgery, your surgeon may recommend that you return to the office after a few days for a dressing change or a change to a full cast

A cast is applied by wrapping fiberglass tape or plaster around your hand, wrist, or arm. The cast hardens and forms a rigid hollow tube around your extremity. It holds the surgical area still during the healing process. It may need to be changed over time to account for swelling, wound care, suture removal, or to take x-rays.  Some surgeries require a brace during the healing process. 

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Hand Surgery Hand Therapy Scar Treatment Scars

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Scar Management

After an injury or surgery, our bodies naturally make scar. Scar tissue can become a problem if it limits function and/or is unpleasant to look at.  Scar tissue can be treated. A physical or occupational therapist who specializes in treating upper extremity injuries can help. There are several factors a therapist assesses to determine the best course of action for scar management. These factors may include the following:

  • How close the scar is to a tendon or muscle: A scar may become adherent to the surrounding tissue such as tendons and/or muscles. As tissues heal, scar adhesion can make movement more difficult. Therapists prescribe specific and directed movements that can reduce adherent scarring.
  • Shape of the scar: If your scar is from a surgery, it is usually a thin line. If scar is from an accident, it may be irregularly shaped and/or vary in depth which could make it unpleasant for you to look at.
  • Type of scar: As skin heals, it shrinks slightly and can cause pain and interfere with motion.  Hypertrophic scarring can occur causing scar tissue to form outside the normal borders of the wound.  Keloid scarring can also occur which causes a large, raised scar.
  • Sensitivity of the scar: Skin is used to being touched by different textures during the day such as clothes, jewelry, and resting surfaces. After an injury or surgery, the wound area is covered for a short amount of time to keep it clean and protected.  During this time, the skin can become hypersensitive.  This can be very painful, cause you to protect your scar during use, and may also affect your sleep.
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Hand Conditions Hand Surgeon Hand Surgery

3 Facts About Hand Surgeons

The hand is extremely unique, and it takes a special type of surgeon to treat it. You may be surprised to learn these three things about hand surgeons:

  1. Hand surgeons treat everything from general hand pain to hand emergencies. Just because you don’t need hand surgery doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a hand surgeon! Hand surgeons are specialists for all things related to the hand and can treat a variety of conditions including carpal tunnel, trigger finger, sports injuries, jammed fingers, broken hands/fingers, birth defects, etc. Hand surgeons can also potentially reattach your hand or finger if it is severed in a traumatic incident.
  2. Hand surgeons don’t just treat hands. Most hand surgeons treat the wrist and arm as well. Many can also treat the elbow and shoulder.
  3. Hand surgeons receive additional, specialized training. This extra training is a full year on top of their residency.
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Hand Hand Surgery Opioids Pain

6 Ways to Reduce Pain Without Opioids

After surgery, you may be feeling pain. While your doctor may have prescribed medication to lessen the pain, there are many other things you can do to make yourself more comfortable post-surgery. Here are six ways to reduce pain without opioids:

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Hand Hand Surgery Hand Therapy Surgery

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Surgery

Surgery generally falls into two categories, elective and emergency.  Outcomes from these two types can vary greatly.  Emergency surgery is usually done to preserve life or function and usually follows some sort of serious incident or injury.  Elective surgery means you may have some choice about the surgery as well as some time to discuss options with your doctor or medical team.

Post-operative expectations following surgery will depend greatly on the type of surgery you have, the amount of damage before and during surgery, your body’s response, and how well you take care of yourself afterward.

How can I prepare myself for my surgery?

The best way to prepare for surgery is to start as early as possible.  Most surgeries come with a set of precautions for after surgery, but what you do before surgery can also make a difference.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Hand Hand Surgery

When Is Surgery the Answer for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

from U.S. News & World Report

LAST SUMMER, ANNA LEA Matysek of Sarasota, Florida, and her husband Jim set to work sprucing up their property. Some of the hardscaping that had been installed two decades prior had sunk into the soft, Gulf Coast soil, and it was time to break up that old concrete and elevate the flower beds. “We excavated these giant concrete pieces and then filled the trenches with rock and laid the pieces back down so that they’re now at surface level again,” Matysek says. The job took about two weeks and involved “a lot of digging, moving pieces of concrete and shoveling rocks.” By the end of the project, the property looked great, but Matysek was suffering from a classic case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports CTS “occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and the tendons that bend the fingers. The median nerve provides feeling to the palm side of the thumb and to the index, middle and part of the ring fingers (although not the little finger). It also controls some small muscles at the base of the thumb.”

Read the full story.

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Elbow Hand Hand Surgery Hand Therapy Stiff Elbow

How to Treat a Stiff Elbow

A stiff elbow can be caused by a couple different things. It could be the result of a injury, such as a fall, and it could also result from a certain condition such as arthritis. Having a stiff elbow likely means that you are unable to move the elbow as you normally would. It makes it difficult to perform simple, everyday tasks. You likely cannot bend or straighten the elbow to pick up objects or rotate your palms to do things like wash your hands.

Here are different methods that your surgeon may recommend for treating a stiff elbow:

  • Exercises/stretching
  • Splinting
  • Surgery
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Bones Broken Hand Hand Fracture Hand Surgery

Ask a Doctor – Hand Fractures

Hand surgeon Brian P. Kelley, MD, answers your questions about a broken hand.

How do I know if I broke a bone in my hand?

Breaking a bone, or fracturing a bone as a doctor may refer to it, is a common injury that can occur at any age.  In fact, fractures of the bones of the hand represent one of the most common reasons for a visit to the emergency department in the United States (about 1.5% of all emergency visits). Also, fractures of the fingers represent about 10% of all types of fractures.

Fractures often occur after physical trauma, such as during sports, work, or falls. However, it’s important to remember that not all hand injuries involve a fracture of the bone.  Other injuries, such as sprains or dislocations, may occur around the bones, but may not actually involve a break. In these cases, the soft tissues that hold bones together may be injured (such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, or cartilage).

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