- Operations to restore the functionality of the hands after hand injuries.
- For degenerative hand conditions, including compression of neurovascular structures.
For the majority of the day to day tasks you would require your hands. Tasks like writing a cheque, zipping your cloth, and even eating are all dependent on hand function. In the event of damage to your hand, you are rendered disabled in doing these formerly easy tasks.
What are the most common hand injuries and conditions?
Events like a fall with an outstretched hand, a workplace accident, or even while you are engaging in sporting activities, injuries to the tendons, joints, or even ligaments around the hand region can result in significant impact on functionality.
The possible medical diagnoses include:
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Tumours of the hand
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Arthritis of the elbow, wrist, or hand region
- Other nerve compression syndromes
- Hand conditions associated with congenital disabilities and lag in child development.
What type of hand surgeries are performed?
There are varying surgical procedures involved in hand surgery treatment plans. Surgery could be offered on an outpatient basis where the affected individual is admitted into the hospital facility or require local anaesthetics to ensure the patient can’t feel pain similar to the ones dentists use in filling cavities in teeth. These surgeries can last for an average of between 20-30 minutes. Some of these hand surgeries would require an instrument known as an endoscope, which gives an inside view of the damaged structures using a camera after a small incision around the area has been made.
Below are the common conditions which require hand surgery:
Carpal tunnel syndrome: The surgeon would remove the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel, which serves as a conduit for some neurovascular structures. This effectively reduces the pressure that results in median nerve compression. The wrist is affected, and the finger region since the tendons of the hand muscles lying deep in the tunnel flexes the fingers too.
Dupuytren’s contracture: A gradual hardening of the soft tissue in the palm and fingers keeps them straight and is difficult to flex. Dividing the bands wrapped around the tendons of this region alleviates the condition.
Trigger finger: This condition is characterized by a perpetual bent to the finger in a flexed position. When you try to relax the muscles around the region, it becomes very painful. This constant pain results from the hardening of the tendons that assist in flexing the muscles in that particular region. They sometimes may or may not be accompanied by trauma.
Hand conditions involving the joints around the hand, wrist, or elbow like arthritis would require quite complex surgical procedures such as a joint fusion and replacement or even a complex rebuilding of the whole joint. The technique to be used would be determined by the extent of damage.
What does it take to recover from hand surgery?
Some hand surgeries can be minor and uncomplicated and wouldn’t demand a long recovery.
Some surgeries can bring immediate comfort, such as a typical carpal tunnel syndrome case. But, in events where the region of pain in hand is incised, that part would need to heal, and the tissues regrow. This particular kind of invasive surgery could take some weeks running even to several months, all dependent on the patient. In some cases, an occupational physiotherapist or a specialist in hand therapy would be required to ensure your hands get back their normal grasping capabilities in good time. In all, the nature of the surgery is the ultimate determinant of the time of healing and recovery.