Top Facts about Orthopaedic Hand Surgeons

Every human being depends upon their hands for almost everything. From showering to driving, writing, tightening a screw or affixing a stamp, our tactile capacities and grip determine how well we can conduct our daily functions.

In order to utilise our hands most effectively we need motion, strength, and sensation. In the case of an injury or disability to the hand or fingers, you must seek care for any issue to ensure that functionality is restored properly. For this, a good place to start is with a recommendation from family or colleagues, or an online search for a ’hand surgeon near me.


What is a hand surgeon?

Hand surgeons are general, plastic, or orthopaedic surgeons who devote a major part of their practice to the treatment of the upper extremity of the body, especially the hand. Several hand surgeons conduct treatment of elbows, forearms, wrists, hands and fingers.

Hand surgery is a specialty of general, orthopaedic, or plastic surgery. Hand surgeons need to:

  • Finish a minimum of one year of specialised training in hand surgery following the period of basic residency in medicine.
  • Devote a major part of their practice to conditions of the upper extremity and hands (almost 70%).
  • Gain certification in hand surgery through the required Medical Board.


Functions of hand surgeons 

Hand surgery is a branch of medicine that handles issues of the forearm, wrist and hand. Such issues may be handled by the hand surgeon without or with surgery. Hand surgeons are trained to conduct operations when required. Such surgeons may also be experts in diagnosing and treating issues with the elbow. Some surgeons offer treatment to only adults, or just children or both.

Some of the typical conditions handled by hand surgeons are:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Arthritis of hands, fingers and wrists
  • Fractures of hands, fingers and wrists
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Infections of the wrists and hands
  • Ganglion cysts of the hands and wrists
  • Injuries to tendons of the hands and wrists
  • Injuries of nerves of the hands and wrists
  • Trigger Finger

Some of the common elbow conditions treated by specialists include:

  • Tear of the biceps tendon in the elbow
  • Arthritis of the elbow
  • Dislocations or fractures of the elbow
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfer’s Elbow

Congenital hand issues may be treated by hand surgeons who deal with children. Surgeons may offer treatment for both non-surgical and surgical conditions. They commonly devote their time between:

  • Operations in theatre and conducting surgery
  • Clinic/office based work treating non-surgical conditions, getting patients ready for surgery and offering post-operative care to patients
  • In academic centres, training medical students, fellows and residents
  • Participating in conferences and research projects at home and abroad


Reasons to visit a hand surgeon

In case of pain in the arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers or any other upper extremity issues, it is good to turn to a specialist hand surgeon. Since most hand surgeons dedicate their time to examining, treating and studying the hand, they are experts in the field.

Based on the situation, visits to a hand surgeon might comprise of the following:

  • Questions by the surgeon about the history of the issue, so that they can fully understand the symptoms and any relevant medical history 
  • A physical examination of the area of the upper extremity which is causing issues
  • Possible X-rays of the hands or wrists to further study the bones in these areas.
  • Possible CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, nerve studies and other tests to diagnose the condition better.

Some of the non-surgical treatments suggested by an orthopaedic hand surgeon include:

  • Hand therapy – a mix of occupational and physical therapy meant to get rid of pain and restore movement.
  • Injections – Steroid injections may help alleviate wrist/hand conditions.
  • Medication -Some conditions may be treated by over the counter NSAIDs.

Conditions that cannot be alleviated by the above treatments may be recommended for surgery. Surgery might be urgent (for fractures/infections) or elective (arthritis/Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).

Qualities of a good hand surgeon

  • Accurate diagnosis and treatment

Seek a hand surgeon who has glowing reviews from former patients. Look out for consistencies and trends in the reviews left. Such data will give a good idea of the abilities of the surgeon and what you can expect while working along with them.

Patients have different issues and responses to medical treatments, so check for reviews with conditions similar to yours. After arranging a meeting with the surgeon, observe whether they consider all treatment options, including surgical outcomes, in their suggestions. Note whether they explore non-invasive options.

  • Calm under pressure

A great surgeon will stay calm and composed in situations of acute stress. In hand surgeries, there are risks of blood clots and undesirable sensations. The capacity of a surgeon to deal with stress and make crucial decisions under pressure is a measure of their skill. One good and early way to judge this is at the first appointment itself, where you can observe how they conduct the diagnosis of the hand problem and handle questions. One thing to avoid is feeling rushed in the consultation by the surgeon and if they are able to explain everything about the treatment in a clear way.

In sum, these are the top facts about finding a reputable and skilled orthopaedic hand surgeon.

Aria Tyler


Hi, I am Aria. I am a passionate blogger. Blogging is my profession. I love to write articles on several topics. Let's connect and contribute to the world of knowledge together.

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