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Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery


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The hand is a delicate area of the human body that is made up of bone, joints, ligaments (connective tissue), tendons (connects muscle to bone), muscles, nerves (send electrical impulses to the brain and spinal cord), skin, and blood vessels. These elements must all be in good working order for your hand to function properly. The relationship between all these structures is delicate and precise. An injury or disease can affect any or all of these structures and impair the use of your hand.

Our team has developed expert knowledge in pediatric and adult upper extremity (arm) and hand surgery. Our fellowship-trained and certified hand and plastic surgeons can provide comprehensive care for surgery due to trauma (injury), congenital (present from birth), and elective (cosmetic) reasons. When needed, we can coordinate your care with experts in other specialties, including orthopaedics and sports medicine.

Who is a Candidate?

Patients with the following conditions and injuries:

  • Amputation and prosthetics: removal of limbs and replacing with artificial limbs
  • Arthritis in the base of the thumb
  • Arthritis in the MP (metacarpophalangeal) joint: large knuckle where the fingers and thumb meet the hand
  • Osteoarthritis: degenerative “wear and tear” of the joint
  • Broken arm
  • Burns
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: pressure on a nerve on your wrist that causes numbness, weakness, and tingling
  • Congenital (present at birth) hand differences
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome: pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (the “funny bone” nerve that causes numbness or tingling)
  • De Quervain’s tendonitis: tendons around the base of the thumb become swollen and painful)
  • Dupuytren’s disease: hand deformity in which the fingers cannot be completely straightened
  • Extensor tendon injuries: damage to the tendons that lie next to the bone on the back of the hands and fingers and enable you to straighten your wrist, fingers, and thumb
  • Fingertip injuries
  • Flexor tendon injuries: damage to the tissues that control movement in your hand
  • Ganglion cysts: non-cancerous lumps that usually develop along the tendons or joints of the wrists or hands
  • Golf injuries to the hand, wrist, or elbow: includes sprains or ligament injuries
  • Gout: type of arthritis that causes severe pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints
  • Pseudogout: similar to gout, but caused by calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate crystals within the affected joint
  • Hand and wrist tumors
  • Hand fractures
  • Hand infections
  • Joint replacement surgery
  • Mallet finger, or baseball finger: when the tip of the finger bends downwards while the rest of the fingers stays straight
  • Nail bed injuries
  • Nerve injuries
  • Numbness
  • Olecranon bursitis: inflammation of the fluid-filled sac of the elbow joint
  • Psoriatic arthritis: chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the skin and joints
  • Replantation: surgical reattachment of a hand or finger that has been disconnected from the body, as in an accident
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: painful, chronic inflammatory condition
  • Scaphoid (wrist) fractures
  • Scaphoid non-union: wrist fracture that fails to heal
  • Skin cancer of the hand and upper extremity
  • Steroid injections
  • Stiffness in the hand
  • Tendon transfer surgery
  • Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis: irritation of the tissue that connects the forearm muscle to the elbow
  • Thumb sprains
  • Trigger finger: condition in which one finger gets stuck in a bent position
  • Vascular (vein) disorders
  • Wrist arthroscopy: surgery that uses a tiny camera and surgical tools to examine or repair the tissues of the wrist

What to Expect

Most of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you’ll likely return home the same day of surgery. Depending on the specific procedure, you may be under general anesthesia (completely asleep) or local anesthesia (numbing of the surgical area).

After surgery, you will have a bulky dressing at the site of the procedure to control fluid and bleeding. A splint or cast is also needed after having surgery. You will come to our office two to three weeks after your procedure to have the sutures (stitches) removed. In some cases, you may need to undergo occupational and/or physical therapy to regain normal function of the affected area.

Your recovery period will depend on the exact surgery you undergo. If your procedure is relatively simple, you may be able to return to work within a couple of weeks – especially if you work at a desk job. If your job requires physical work, you can expect to take off several weeks or even months from work.

Why Choose UHealth?

Highly-trained specialists to perform your surgery. Offering the latest in leading-edge research and technology, our plastic surgeons treat many patients who have been referred by doctors from across the country and around the globe. Members of our plastic and reconstructive team are experts in a variety of complex procedures and represent a wide range of medical skills and training.

Greater access to UHealth specialists. With more than 30 clinical sites across South Florida, UHealth patients are able to receive the excellence of academic health care without leaving the area.

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