Hand surgery is a specialized field of surgery that encompasses a wide range of procedures aimed at restoring both the function and appearance of the hand. Skilled hand surgeons, often working closely with plastic surgeons, focus on addressing conditions and injuries that affect the hand and fingers. These surgeries are performed for various reasons, including traumatic injuries, degenerative conditions, congenital defects, and infections. Below, we’ll explore different types of hand surgeries and their purposes.
Types of Hand Surgery
1. Skin Grafts
- What is it? Skin grafts involve replacing or attaching skin to a part of the hand that has missing or damaged skin, often seen in fingertip amputations or injuries.
- How is it done? Healthy skin is taken from another area of the body (donor site) and attached to the injured area.
2. Skin Flaps
- What is it? Similar to skin grafts, skin flaps use skin from another body part, but with its own blood supply. This method is preferred when the area lacks adequate blood circulation.
- How is it done? The section of skin used includes underlying blood vessels, fat, and muscles.
3. Closed Reduction and Fixation
- What is it? This procedure is employed when there’s a bone fracture in the hand or fingers, realigning the broken bone and immobilizing it while it heals.
- How is it done? Internal fixtures like wires, rods, splints, and casts may be used for immobilization.
4. Tendon Repair
- What is it? Tendons, which connect muscles to bones, may require repair due to injuries resulting from infection, trauma, or rupture.
- How is it done? Tendon repair can be primary (immediate), delayed primary (a few days later), or secondary (weeks later with possible tendon grafts).
5. Nerve Repairs
- What is it? Nerve injuries in the hand can lead to loss of function and sensation.
- How is it done? Surgery is performed to reattach severed nerves, conduct nerve grafts, or repair damaged nerves, usually within weeks of the injury.
- What is it? A fasciotomy treats compartment syndrome, a painful condition caused by swelling and increased pressure within a confined space.
- How is it done? An incision is made to relieve pressure, allowing the muscle tissue to swell and restoring blood flow.
7. Surgical Drainage or Debridement
- What is it? Hand infections are common and may require surgical drainage or debridement to remove pus and contaminated tissue.
- How is it done? This procedure helps prevent further infection and promotes healing.
8. Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty)
- What is it? Severe hand arthritis may necessitate joint replacement surgery, replacing a damaged joint with an artificial one.
- How is it done? Artificial joints can be made of various materials, including metal, plastic, silicone rubber, or the patient’s own body tissue.
- What is it? Replantation surgery reattaches a severed body part, such as a finger, hand, or toe, aiming to restore function.
- How is it done? Microsurgery, performed under magnification using a microscope, is used to reconnect blood vessels and tissues.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hand Surgery
What are the risks associated with hand surgery?
- Risks of hand surgery include anesthesia-related complications, bleeding, infection, incomplete healing, loss of feeling or movement, and blood clots.
Hand surgery is a diverse field, addressing a wide array of conditions and injuries to improve both the form and function of the hand. Each procedure is tailored to the specific needs of the patient, aiming to restore optimal hand health and mobility. If you’re considering hand surgery, consult with a qualified hand surgeon to discuss your options and potential risks.
[Note: Please consult a medical professional for specific advice related to hand surgery.]