Hand Surgeon | All You Need To Know

Dr. Elizabeth M Anderson MD
Dr. Elizabeth M Anderson is an orthopedic surgeon. She is well known for his specialty in fracture, spine injury, and emergency management. She has several publications and expertise on pediatric surgery also. Dr. Elizabeth M Anderson is the chief orthopedic surgeon of learnfromdoctor.

Who is a Hand Surgeon?

A hand surgeon is a general, orthopedic or plastic surgeon who is an expert in treating hand, wrist, and forearm problems.

A hand surgeon is technically an upper extremity surgeon who treats hand disorders and problems to get rid of pain and movement restriction. Treating some severe injuries needs expert hand surgeons to be solved. Such as some accidents hand is separated from the arm. In those situations, multiple hand surgeons work together to rejoin the hand with the arm.

The Speciality of A Hand Surgeon

  • Skin
  • Nails
  • Muscles and tendons
  • Nerves and bones
  • Joints
  • Ligaments

The hand surgeon treats patients of all ages and genders.

Where to Find An Hand Surgeon?

In emergency circumstances such as major accidents, do not waste your time finding a hand surgeon. Call the emergency health service. They’d provide you essential primary treatment. Then they’d take you to a hand surgeon.

In normal circumstances, if you think you need a hand surgeon then you can go to your nearest hospital’s surgery outdoor. They’d refer you to the hand surgeon.

You don’t have to worry about finding a hand surgeon ever. All you need to do is go to a hospital. Never waste time by hesitating, most of the complication arises because of waiting.

Education and Training

A hand surgeon completes his/her medical school and enters a residency program. The duration of the residency program varies from 5-7 years. The possible residency program for clinical training of a hand surgeon can be;

  • General surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Plastic surgery

A hand surgeon also complete some fellowship program for a specific specialty such as;

  • Microvascular surgery
  • Arthritis surgery
  • Reconstructive wrist surgery
  • Peripheral nerve surgery
  • Congenital differences (deformed hands)
  • Trauma surgery, including reattaching severed fingers and limbs

Hand surgeons are highly qualified and experienced doctors. You don’t have to worry about the skill and experience of your surgeon.

Hand Surgeon Vs Hand Specialist

You may be wondering what is the difference between a hand surgeon and a hand specialist. The key difference is a hand surgeon performs surgery on your hand, wrist, and forearm if needed but a hand specialist treats the hand conditions with medicine.

More specifically all hand surgeons are hand specialists but all hand specialists are not hand surgeons.

Whenever you go to a hand specialist, the doctor would diagnose your condition and if he/she thinks the condition can be treated without surgery, they won’t send you to a hand surgeon. Some hand specialists do some minor surgeries on your hands according to the condition.

A hand surgeon is needed when there is a major injury or severe condition. In those conditions, the hand surgeon treats your condition by surgical procedure.

When you go to a hand specialist, the doctor would take the rest of the care for you. Whether you need a surgeon or not will be decided by the doctor.

When to Visit A Hand Surgeon?

We use our hands almost all the time. If there is a little discomfort in your hands, even that can affect the basic lifestyle much. If you feel any kind of discomfort or pain in your hands, wrists, or forearm, you should visit a hand surgeon or hand specialist.

Other than injuries or accidents there are some more signs, which indicate you should visit a hand surgeon.

  • Unusual pain in the wrist, forearm, fingers
  • Trouble in using hands for daily activities
  • Bruise and swelling in the hand, wrist, or forearm area
  • Limited range of motion
  • Joint pain
  • Any signs of infection

Common Disease And Conditions Treated By A Hand Surgeon

Hand surgeons treat different conditions according to the situation. There are some conditions, which are treated mainly by a hand surgeon.

  • Wrist Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Broken hands and wrists
  • Triggered fingers
  • Jammed fingers
  • Sports injuries
  • Traumatic injury and reattach the hand or fingers
  • Creating fingers

Some hand surgeons provide physiotherapy in certain conditions.

Common Hand Surgeries

If there is a hand injury that requires surgical treatment, the surgeon observes the situation and determines which type of surgery is needed. The hand is a highly vascular part of our body. It contains complicated anatomical distribution. So there may need multiple types of surgery in hand even for a minor injury.

Tendon Repair

Tendon attaches the muscles to the bones. Infection and injury can cause rupture of the tendons. Which needs surgical treatment to get repaired.

orthopedic hand surgeon treating hand injury
orthopedic hand surgeon treating hand injury

Nerve Damage

The hand is a nerve-rich organ. If one of the main three nerve damages, that can arise multiple complications such as loss of sensation, loss of function, etc. The surgeon reattaches and repairs the damaged nerve to restore the functions.

Read Radial Artery | Ulnar nerve

Infection and Wound Cleansing

The hand is a common part of the body to get infected because we use our hands in almost every kind of work. The surgeon helps to remove an abscess, mass, or source of infection and treat the hand to restore its normal condition.

Removing dead cells and tissues to promote the healing of the hand is also done by a hand surgeon.

Joint Replacement By Orthopedic Hand Surgeon

This procedure is necessary for patients with arthritis. The surgeon replaces the damaged joints with artificial metals, silicons, or plastic. The surgeon may take tissues from other parts of your body for use as tendons.

Fixation and Realignments

In case of severe accident and injury, fingers and hand joints can be broken and displaced. The surgeon uses artificial rods, wire casts to realign the broken finger or bone and immobilize them for better healing.

 

Consultation With The Hand Surgeon

If you are in an emergency situation such as you had an accident and were severely injured, the surgeon won’t ask you many questions. He’d do his jobs and repair your hands.

If you are visiting a hand surgeon for consultation, the surgeon would ask you some basic questions. You should take all of your medical certificates with you. The surgeon may ask you the family history about certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

During the physical examination, the surgeon may press slightly your hands to feel the tenderness of the area. You shouldn’t hold your pain, express your pains and other feelings.

Mention every detail of your injury or condition. If there was any metal or not. The surgeon may ask you about your job, you should tell him that.

The hand surgeon will try to treat your hand conditions non surgically first. But if the situation needed surgical attention, the surgeon would tell you about that.

Sports injury may need hand surgeon attention
Sports injury may need hand surgeon attention

Your hand surgeon may recommend you some tests for better diagnosis. Such as;

  • X-ray
  • CT Scan
  • Some blood tests
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
Normal Hand X Ray
Normal Hand X Ray
hand fracture x ray
hand fracture x ray

Hand Surgeon Summary

Hand Surgeons are qualified and experienced surgeons who treat your hands. If your hand condition needs surgical treatment then the hand surgeon is the person who determines and performs that. The surgeon can be a general, orthopedic or plastic surgeon.

How much does a hand surgeon make?

In the USA the average earning of a hand surgeon is $378,803 a year. A resident hand surgeon won’t make this much. This is for an experienced senior hand surgeon.

What is a hand surgeon called?

Hand surgeons are called hand surgeons over the world. In particular specialty areas, they may be called orthopedic hand surgeons or general hand surgeons specifically.

How to become a hand surgeon?

You have to complete your medical school then complete the residency program. The common residency program for becoming a hand surgeon may include; general surgery, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery.

Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by Learn From Doctor Team

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