Everything you need to know about Hand Surgery

Simple tasks like cleaning, writing, washing and drying clothes, cooking food, etc., would be a challenge if we did not use our hands. A hand injury or sprain can often disrupt regular life if not addressed in time. Hand surgery is an effective solution that can help a patient regain function, relieve discomfort in the hands and also improve life. Read on, if you have queries about hand reconstruction or want to know about the most competent orthopedic hand specialist in your city.

What is hand surgery, and when should one undergo it
Hand surgery involves the treatment of arms, wrists, forehands, fingers and elbows. Hand surgeons are well-established with reconstructive therapies, as the damage to the hands is often fatal. Not all issues require surgery. Here are a few cases that need surgical attention on the hands:

Hand injuries
If any part of the hand is injured, say the fingers, a surgeon, with the help of an X-ray, suggests an operation that fixes the movements of the fingers.

Rheumatic diseases
People with rheumatoid arthritis will have severe pain and swelling in joints and internal organs. Surgeries like synovectomy, arthroplasty and tendon release may help them. A skilled surgeon will remove the inflamed joint lining in synovectomy by open surgery. In arthroplasty, the patient will likely get a synthetic joint lining made of silicone or plastic. These procedures will control rheumatoid arthritis.

Degenerative changes and infections
Degenerative changes get worse over time and are always progressive. Diseases like osteoarthritis and osteomyelitis are degenerative. Hand surgery options include elbow arthroscopy, complex bone reconstruction and joint fusion. The damaged tissue is removed in these surgeries, and the weak joints are stabilized.
If the infections in fingers or anywhere in the hands are severe, local anaesthesia is provided. The doctor then scoops the infected part out and stitches the affected region. The healing process is quick in these cases.

What are the different types of hand surgery?
The different types of hand surgery depend on the underlying problems a person is dealing with. Here’s more information about traditional hand surgeries practiced for a long time.

Skin graft
Skin grafting is one of the most common surgeries done globally. It involves removing healthy skin from an unaffected area in one’s body to transplant the damaged parts. It might usually be burn injuries, infections, skin ulcers and large wounds. There are three kinds of skin-grafting xenograft, allograft and autograft.
It is an autograft if the donor skin is of the same person undergoing the procedure. If the skin is taken from a cadaver, it is an allograft. The process which uses skin from an animal, mostly a pig, is called a xenograft. Allograft and xenograft are temporary solutions. Autograft is the most reliable technique in skin grafts
The success rate of skin grafts is higher, and the healing process is also quick, depending on the scale of the damage.

Skin flap
A skin flap refers to living tissues, along with blood vessels, that are transferred to a damaged area. Skin flap surgery is generally suggested for patients who are in for breast reconstruction, open fractures and large wounds. As time passes, the skin flap heals within one year, supplying blood to the affected regions.
The success of skin flaps is higher than skin grafts, usually done through microsurgery.

Closed reduction and fixation
Closed reduction and internal fixation surgery occurs when the bones in a person’s arms or hands are severely damaged. When the repair is beyond a cast or splint, the surgeons realign the broken bones through manipulation. This technique proves to be minimally invasive, which gives more control and hold to the operating segments.

Tendon repair
Tendons are muscular fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. If the biceps tendons are torn off after a sudden injury, the strained area is operated on through an incision on the elbows, and the region is immobilized with a cast or splint. With rehabilitation, the tendons become normal within three to four months. After this, the patient can function normally.

Nerve repair
The three essential nerves that run through the neck to arms are radial, ulnar and median. Any damage to these can be through cuts, increased pressure, severe fractures etc. The surgery can either be nerve decompression, nerve repair or nerve graft.
Through physiotherapy, a person can regain the sense of hot and cold temperatures and feel pain and touch like before. After complete healing, the motor and sensory functions of the nerves are restored.

Joint replacement
Join replacements often occur after the overuse of cartilage or the grinding of bones against each other. Other reasons include severe trauma and infection. A small prosthesis (an artificial part that replaces the damaged body) is attached to the fingers through a small canal drilled into the bones. The new cartilage grows on the flat surface where the prosthesis is placed. A splint is used to keep this intact for about three weeks. The healing happens after a month of the surgery.

What risks are associated with hand surgery?
It is known that surgery comes with potential side effects, which are only for a short period. Similarly, there might be a few common complications which patients may undergo. They are…

Infections might occur when the surgery is performed through an incision (cut) if the environment around it is contaminated. Other reasons for infections to occur are diabetes, obesity and poor immunity. Antibiotics and proper wound care can reduce it.

Incomplete healing
The surgical wound may split open, which causes bleeding, swelling and redness. There might be temporary scars after surgery. The adjacent structures near the operated area may also be affected, which should disappear after a while. If not, contact your surgeon immediately.

Loss of feeling or movement of the hand or fingers
Due to anaesthesia, numbness might linger after the first few hours of surgery. Or staying in one position during an operation can also cause numbness. This will vanish after a few days. If the situation flares up, immediate medical attention is necessary.

Blood clots
Due to previous medical complications, consumption of certain medicines can pave the way for blood clots after surgery. If there is a high risk for blood clots, your surgeon will take specific measures to prevent it. Follow the doctor’s instructions, and move around as much as possible after your successful surgery.
Through this article, we hope you will know how severe the damage can be to your hands and what you can do to survive it!

People also ask

What does a microvascular surgeon do?
Microvascular surgeons work on small blood vessels using a microscope and other specialized surgical instruments. They reattach severed fingers and amputated hands and arms through this procedure.

What is microvascular reconstructive surgery?
Microvascular reconstructive surgery is performed to restore blood flow to the damaged tissue parts. It is a highly advanced surgery, often suggested for patients with tumours, severe burns and amputations.

What is the average recovery time for hand surgery?
The average recovery time is two to three weeks. However, gaining a fully functional hand may take up to one month. This depends on each patient, based on the damage.

Is hand surgery serious?
Hands are essential, as plenty of sensitive nerve endings travel through them. If these become degenerative, almost everything in day-today life becomes complex. Hence, having hand surgery by a reputed medical professional is essential. Consulting a well-known surgeon is another crucial task to accomplish.

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