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Hand Surgery in Birmingham AL

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery for the Hands

If your hand is impaired in any way, Hand Surgery may improve your condition. This type of very specialized surgery can treat diseases that cause pain and impair the strength, function and flexibility of your wrist and fingers. Surgery seeks to restore to near-normal the function of fingers and hands injured by trauma or to correct abnormalities that were present at birth.

Hand surgery is used to treat:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: A condition caused by pressure to the median nerve within the wrist, or carpal tunnel. You might feel pain, a tingling sensation, numbness of the fingers, weakness or aching. Carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with multiple conditions, including repetitive motion or overuse, fluid retention during pregnancy, injury to the nerve in the carpal tunnel or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: A disabling disease that can cause severe inflammation in any joint of the body. In the hand, it can deform fingers and impair movement.
  • Dupuytren's contracture: A disabling hand disorder in which thick, scar-like tissue bands form within the palm and may extend into the fingers. It can cause restricted movement, bending the fingers into an abnormal position.

Hand Surgery Candidates

Patients with painful conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and Dupuytren's contracture may be suitable candidates for hand surgery.

These procedures can be performed on people of any age and is a good option for you if:

In some conditions, hand surgery is necessary to treat wounds and injuries. Plastic surgeons are often involved in treating patients who come to the emergency room with severe hand trauma.

Your Hand Surgery Consultation

The success and safety of your hand procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your hand surgery consultation. You'll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

During your hand surgery consultation be prepared to discuss:

Your plastic surgeon will also:

Hand Surgery Risks and Safety

Hand closeup

Each patient must decide if the benefits of hand surgery will achieve their goals, and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Possible hand surgery risks include:

Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain the risks in detail. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand your hand surgery procedure, the alternatives and the most likely risks and potential complications.

Carpal Tunnel Risks

Additional risks associated with carpal tunnel surgery include:

  • Non-improvement.
  • Recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Extensor Tendon Risks

Additional risks associated with extensor tendon surgery include:

  • Additional incisions necessary because cut tendons may retract.
  • Failure of tendon repair.
  • Inability to restore function.
  • Tendon scarring.

Flexor Tendon Risks

Additional risks associated with flexor tendon surgery include:

  • Additional incisions necessary because cut tendons may retract.
  • Inability to restore function.
  • Tendon scarring.

Tenolysis Risks

Additional risks associated with tenolysis surgery include:

  • Abnormal tendon position.
  • Additional incisions necessary where scarring occurs or to make new incisions to release scar tissue that is limiting tendon motion.
  • Inability to restore function.
  • Recurrent tendon scarring.
  • Rupture of tendon.
  • Seroma (fluid accumulation).
  • Wound breakdown.

Trigger Finger Risks

Additional risks associated with trigger finger surgery include:

  • Non-improvement.
  • Tendon scarring.

Preparing for Hand Surgery

Prior to hand surgery, you may be asked to:

Special instructions you receive will cover:

Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Depending on the type of surgery, your procedure may be performed in your plastic surgeon's accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. If your hand surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night.

Hand Surgery Procedure

Your plastic surgeon may recommend one or a combination of techniques to achieve your goals. Some of those techniques include microsurgery; grafting of skin, bone, nerves or other tissue from healthy parts of the body; z-plasty; and physical therapy.

Anesthesia choices for Hand surgery is performed using intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will recommend the best choice for you.

Hand Surgery Incisions

Hand or Finger Trauma Treatment

The most common traumatic hand or finger injury requiring hand surgery is tendon repair. When a tendon is cut, it will retract from the original wound site. Tendon repair retrieves the retracted tendon and reconnects it using surgical techniques to restore function and movement.

Hand showing trauma repair incision
Hand Surgery trauma repair

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Relief

Pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel must be relieved to repair this condition. An incision is made from the middle of the palm to the wrist, allowing access to the constricted tissue causing pressure on the nerve. An alternate procedure is referred to as an endoscopic carpal tunnel release, with smaller incisions (see blue dotted lines below) and the use of a surgical microscope or endoscope (a small, flexible tube that contains a light and lens) to release pressure.

Hand showing carpal tunnel relief incisions
Hand Surgery carpal tunnel relief

Birth Deformity Repair

When fingers are fused together at birth, known as syndactyly, they may be joined only by a web of skin or by skin and a partial fusion of bones. Surgery involves separating the two fingers to provide a full range of motion and a normal appearance, as well as permitting more normal finger growth. Techniques such as skin grafting or a local flap procedure like Z-plasty create flexibility at the incision site for growth and movement of the fingers.

Hand showing birth deformity grafts and incisions
Hand Surgery birth deformity repair

Hand Surgery Recovery

After surgery, bandages or dressings may be applied to keep the surgical site clean and splints may be used when needed.

You will be given specific instructions that may include:

Follow all postoperative instructions including cleansing, taking prescribed medications and hand therapy exercises. Therapy is critical to restoring strength, flexibility and movement. If you attempt to return to normal function too soon, the risk of re-injury is possible. Continue your hand therapy regimen and attend follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon as scheduled. This is essential to a successful outcome.

The end result of your hand surgery is directly related to following your therapist's and plastic surgeon's instructions.

Hand Surgery Results and Outlook

The results of hand surgery will appear gradually as swelling subsides. Your final outcome will develop over time and may not be realized for several months.

While advances in hand surgery can accomplish near miracles in reconstruction and replantation, your outcome cannot be fully predicted. For certain traumatic injuries, it may not be possible to achieve completely normal function.

If you had surgery to correct carpal tunnel syndrome, modifying work habits as recommended is vital to long-term improvement. Your final outcome may not be realized for several months. If your procedure involved microsurgery, a year is considered appropriate to fully reach restored function.

Hand Surgery Words to Know

Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Hand Surgery restores the function and appearance of the hands for patients with hand conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and Dupuytren's contracture.

Birmingham, AL Office & Surgery Suites

Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery
140 Village Street
Birmingham, AL 35242
205-980-1744 or 800-HeddenMD
American Society of Plastic Surgeons * American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery *
* Dr. William Hedden, Dr. Stephen Gunn
Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Contact Us Today

Questions About Body Contouring?

Contact our Alabama plastic surgeons today to find out more about Hand Surgery or other plastic surgery procedures at our Birmingham-area practice.

To schedule your consultation at the earliest possible date, please call 205-980-1744.

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