Common Hand Reconstruction Procedures
There are several disorders that can affect the use of your hands. Hand reconstruction surgery can alleviate many of the symptoms related to these disorders and sometimes completely restore mobility. If you or a loved one are suffering from a loss of hand function or significant pain in the hands, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about reconstructive hand surgery.
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Here are some of the common types of conditions that can be treated:
Dupuytren’s contracture fasciectomy – This condition occurs when extra tissue forms in the palm and fingers and is often painless. The problem with having Dupuytren’s contracture is that it forms skin nodules that can develop into bands that cause the fingers to curl, leading to loss of mobility. Surgery is sometimes required to remove the excess tissue and allow the fingers to move in a full range of motion, but it isn’t always successful. The surgery does not require an overnight stay in the hospital, however, it may take up to twelve weeks to regain full use of your hands.
Tendon repairs – The tendons in the hand are used to form a fist, and without them, you would have a limited range of motion. There are two types of tendons that can be damaged in the hand, and they are responsible for balling your hand into a fist and extending your fingers. These tendons can break under severe stress, but this only occurs under extreme conditions. The usual culprit is rheumatoid arthritis, which weakens the tendons to the point of tearing, requiring surgery. If you have been previously diagnosed with this type of arthritis, early treatments are recommended to prevent other tendons in your hand from snapping. Doctors are able to use healthy tendons to repair and reinforce weaker ones, and surgery will sometimes be used to reduce rough edges on the bones affected by arthritis. After this type of surgery, you will not be able to use your hand for six weeks, or until the tendons heal.
Ganglion fluid cysts – Synovial fluid is a lubricant in joints that helps the bones slide seamlessly past one another. Sometimes this fluid can escape and form pockets under the skin called ganglions. They feel firm to the touch and are commonly seen on the back of the wrist in patients who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Ganglions can develop in other areas of the hand, such as the backs of fingers, and may disappear without surgery. However, if they become painful and restrict movement of the hand, you may need to have a ganglion surgically removed. Surgery can alleviate symptoms, but it does not prevent them from recurring.
Trapeziectomy – At the base of the thumb, in the wrist, is a bone called the trapezium. Some forms of arthritis specifically attack this bone, and it can become difficult to use your hand to perform simple tasks. The pain is usually intermittent, but if it persists, then surgery may be necessary to remove the bone completely. Doctors may decide put your arm in a cast for a few weeks to allow scar tissue to build, or they may replace the bone with a tendon. This condition sometimes goes away, and it is best to consult your doctor to find out if surgery is the best option.
Full use of your hands is imperative for daily activities, so seeking medical advice is important if you are experiencing limited mobility. The decision to move forward with any type of surgery may cause stress or fear, however, these types of surgeries have been successfully completed thousands of times with successful outcomes. To relieve any feelings of apprehension, ask your doctor questions concerning what to expect pre-operation and post-operation. You should expect to have hand therapy after surgery to ensure a full recovery.