Plastic and reconstructive surgery of the hands is designed to not only restore hand mobility in cases where disease or injury has impaired hand function, but also to improve the appearance of hand deformities and birth defects.
About Hand Surgery
When is hand surgery needed?
Like most reconstructive surgery procedures, hand surgery may be appropriate for men, women and children who have congenital deformities (birth defects) affecting their hands, as well as hand injuries that impair function and affect the appearance of the hands.
Hand surgery is commonly performed to correct issues such as:
Carpal tunnel surgery and other hand procedures
Hand plastic surgery is typically performed to correct damage caused by birth defects or injury to the nerves, tendons, bones, blood vessels and skin of your hands. The purpose of hand surgery is to restore function to your hand, as well as improve form or appearance.
A variety of surgical techniques may be used in hand surgery, including:
A word about carpal tunnel surgery:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand problems affecting people today because of widespread computer use. performed to relieve pressure may build up within the carpal tunnel that has occurred because of rheumatoid arthritis or other diseases, injury, fluid retention during pregnancy, overuse or repetitive motions, such as using a computer mouse.
Pressure on the nerve within the carpal tunnel causes carpal tunnel syndrome, which is marked by impaired hand function, pain, tingling and numbness.
Carpal tunnel syndrome correction
If splinting and anti-inflammatory medications don't alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, hand surgery may be the next appropriate step. Surgical correction of carpal tunnel involves releasing the tissue that is pressing on the lower hand and wrist nerves to relieve pain, tingling and numbness. This requires an incision from the mid-palm to wrist.
Possible hand surgery complications
Complications from hand surgery are unlikely when performed by a capable plastic and reconstructive surgeon, however inherent risks of surgery still apply. These risks include:
Most hand surgery complications are treatable, however it is important to be informed about all possible risks before undergoing any cosmetic or reconstructive surgery procedure.
How to choose a hand surgery specialist
We use our hands every day to perform some of the most essential tasks for our survival. Thus, it is important to ensure before pursuing hand surgery that you are in the "hands" of a capable surgeon who will be able to effectively correct your functional issues with as few complications as possible.
Look for a hand surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. These physicians are uniquely qualified to perform both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures and have proven their skill and training in performing hand surgery as part of the board certification process. Surgeons certified in orthopedic or general surgery may also be appropriate choices for hand surgery.
Experience and training are also important, so review your surgeon's credentials and training background. You may even want to talk with satisfied patients who have had successful hand surgery with the surgeon you are considering.
Dr. James Motlagh is a fellowship-trained, double board-certified general and plastic surgeon with significant training and experience in performing hand surgery. He is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Healing and rehabilitation after hand surgery
Immediately following hand surgery, you may need medication for pain management during your initial recovery period. Typically, your hand will have to be immobilized for a period of time dependent on the procedure you had performed, the severity of your hand problems prior to surgery and your body's unique healing process.
A large dressing and splint are used after surgery to restrict motion and promote healing after carpal tunnel surgery.
Although hand surgery can restore a significant degree of feeling and function to injured hands, physical therapy and rehabilitation with a hand therapist is often an integral part of the hand surgery recovery process.
Hand exercises are crucial during rehabilitation, and other therapeutic procedures may be needed as well. If hand therapy is recommended, be sure to follow your therapists advice in addition to Dr. Motlagh's post-operative care instructions for you to achieve optimal results.