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When Is It Time To Undergo Hand Surgery?



Our hands are among the most useful and the most versatile parts of the body; every day, we use them to clean ourselves, feed ourselves, and to fend not only for ourselves but for our family as well. Can you recall a day in which you did not ever need to use your hands for anything at all?

And since the hands are used each and every passing day, they are also most susceptible to wear and tear. Athletes in particular are vulnerable to injuries of the hand that, if unresolved, could threaten their career. On the other hand, those who are hired in a job that requires a lot of hand manipulation are also susceptible to the following conditions of the hand:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Wrist pain
  • Hand, wrist, and forearm fractures
  • Trigger finger

There are also disease conditions that could affect the hand including arthritis and congenital birth defects.

While many people often hear that surgery is used to treat certain hand conditions, it’s not always the first choice in correcting disabilities or injuries of the hand. Just as in other branches of medicine, a more conservative approach is usually the initial course of action taken by doctors. Surgery can be risky, costly, and requires a longer recovery period so it’s usually not considered especially if there’s hope with nonsurgical methods.

But, when is it finally time to resort to hand surgery? Generally, hand surgery is performed if and when all nonsurgical remedies fail to resolve the problem, or if the particular hand condition is interfering with daily productivity and function. Here are some cases that would often push the doctor to perform hand surgery:

Ganglion Cysts

–          These are usually cysts that grow at the back of the wrist and are caused by the irritation of the ligaments, tendon sheaths, or joint linings within the hand and wrist. They are usually painless and non-cancerous, but in very rare cases wherein they tend to impede normal and effective function, the cysts are surgically removed. However, they are known to recur naturally.

Arthritis of the Hand

–          Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive joint disease that can occur in any of the joints. In hand arthritis, the fingers become painful and are progressively deformed which can deter efficient use of the hands. The pain and deformity can be addressed non-surgically, but in some cases, the surgeon would opt to surgically remove the inflamed tissues around the joints in order to reduce pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

–          Numbness and tingling of the hand at night is a key characteristic of carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes the pain can radiate to the shoulders, which can be extremely distressing for the affected individual. The treatment regimen for carpal tunnel usually ranges from wearing splints and braces, and administration of steroid injections to reduce swelling. Surgery is performed if all else fails.

The above mentioned are just a few of the hand conditions that could be treated with both surgical and nonsurgical means. If you think you might have a disorder that requires the attention of a hand surgeon, it would be best to contact one immediately.