Hand surgery is a hybrid of many of many types of techniques usually performed by a wide range of specialists like orthopaedic, plastic, vascular, and neurosurgeons. It is used to treat a number of problems from repairing nerves to replacing tendons. Hand surgery specialists can treat both chronic (long term) hand pain and acute (recent onset) hand pain. The most commonly treated conditions and injuries treated by hand surgery physicians are:
Injury – sudden break, tears, and dislocations
Carpal tunnel syndrome – damage to the never that passes through the carpal tunnel
Metacarpal bossing – a mass in one of the joints of the hand
Rheumatoid arthritis – a rheumatic disease causing inflammation (link to RA article)
Dupuytren’s Disease – one of the fingers is bent inwards and cannot be straightened
Congenital defect – a condition that is present from birth
A Brief History Of Hand Surgery
Hand surgery as we know it today gets it roots from Major General Norman Kirk, the Army’s Surgeon General during World War II. He began to explore hand reconstruction after reviewing the problems experienced during the first World War. The tiny bones, tendons, nerves, and arteries in the hand required new techniques to affect repairs with increased positive outcomes. This exploration soon became a specialty in its own right. Orthopedic surgeons now typically practice this specialty with plastic surgeons being able to perform a few specific procedures
The Difference Between Orthopedic and Plastic Hand Surgeons
The two most common specialties to treat hands are orthopaedic hand surgeons and plastic hand surgeons. Both specialties require additional study in how to most effectively treat and solve the different conditions that can cause hand pain. While both specialists can treat most causes of hand pain and injury each have specific areas where they are most effective. Orthopaedic hand surgeons usually are most adept at treating injuries, carpal tunnel, arthritis, congenital defects, Dupuytren’s disease, and metacarpal bossing. Plastic surgeons typically focus on limb reattachment and reconstruction of nerves and arteries. Typically, though you will want to start with an orthopaedic physician to diagnose the problem, if a plastic surgeon’s treatment is warranted they will help you find one that can best treat your ailment.
IBJI’s hand surgeons have years of experience and training in treating all possible hand injuries and causes of hand pain. Make an appointment with one of our hand surgery specialists to get start getting your pain under control. Our orthopaedic hand physicians are the right choice for getting your pain treated in the Chicago area.
*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.