Hand and Microsurgery Associates
Ligament Repair Q & A
What is ligament repair?
Ligament repair is a procedure you might require if you rupture or sever a ligament in your hand or arm.
Ligaments are tough pieces of connective tissue that attach bones to each other. They enable you to move your joints while keeping them stable. Ligaments are vital for movement, so if you damage one, it can have a severe impact on the function of your arm or hand.
Completely severing or tearing a ligament in two results in an inability to move the affected joint. Ligament repair procedures can resolve these problems.
What ligaments might need repairing?
You can damage or tear any of the ligaments in your hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder. Some of the more common ligament injuries seen at Hand and Microsurgery Associates include:
Scapholunate ligament tear
The scapholunate ligament ensures the smooth operation of the scaphoid and lunate bones in your wrist. If you tear the scapholunate ligament, the bones can move in different directions. This causes pain and loss of grip.
Skier’s thumb, also known as gamekeeper’s thumb, is a common injury affecting the band of ligaments at the base of your thumb. The ligaments can tear when you fall and land on your hand if the fall forces your thumb and index finger too far apart.
Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear
The UCL is on the inside part of your elbow, where it supports your joint and keeps the elbow from bending backward. Traumatic elbow injuries like dislocations and falls can cause the ligament to rupture when the elbow joint bends too far the wrong way. You can also damage the UCL by overuse. UCL tears are common in athletes.
Acromioclavicular joint sprain
There are two ligaments in the acromioclavicular joint in your shoulder. These ligaments join the clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade). Traumatic damage to the ligaments from a collision, fall, or sporting injury can cause them to tear. This can cause severe pain and varying levels of lost range of motion.
What is involved in ligament repair?
If a ligament is stretched, bruised, or partially torn, nonsurgical treatments, such as hand therapy, rest, massage, and medication, can often enable the tissues to heal. However, if a ligament ruptures completely, surgery is usually the most effective treatment.
The Hand and Microsurgery Associates team has considerable expertise in carrying out ligament repair and reconstruction. It can be difficult to sew the torn ligament without affecting the flexibility of the affected joint, so the surgical team performs the ligament repair with a graft.
The graft is a section of healthy tendon taken from another part of the body, such as the forearm or hamstring. The graft could come from you (autograft) or a donor (allograft). The surgical team inserts the graft into the joint and attaches it to the bones using special sutures.
Following your ligament repair procedure, you need to undergo hand therapy to ensure optimal recovery.
To find out more about ligament repair and how you could benefit from their expertise, call Hand and Microsurgery Associates today and arrange a consultation.