Author: Charan Gowda, MD
What is a Hand and Microsurgeon?
The field of hand and microsurgery is comprised of highly specialized surgeons treating patients for conditions related to the hand and upper extremities. The dedication to restoring the form and function of the hand differentiates the hand surgeon from the general orthopaedic surgeon. Microsurgery involves the added expertise of operating using magnification in those conditions requiring the repair of fine nerves and vessels. The hand and microsurgeon is trained in treating conditions of not only the bone and joint, but also the soft tissue and neurovascular structures necessary for the functional hand and upper extremity.
A dedicated hand surgeon evaluates and treats traumatic and non-traumatic conditions. Traumatic injuries include fractures of the hand, wrist, and elbow. Common injuries also include laceration and wounds with damage to nerves, tendon, vessels. The hand and microsurgeon can also treat complex injuries such as amputations and soft tissue defects using expertise in microsurgery.
The non-traumatic conditions treated include nerve compression syndromes, joint degeneration, and common overuse conditions. The most common of these conditions are carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis in the thumb and digits, trigger fingers and cysts. Some of the other common conditions include tendinopathies such as tennis elbow and rare conditions such as Dupuytren’s contractures of the hand.
The hand and microsurgeon evaluates and provides non-surgical treatment when indicated, but also provides surgical expertise when necessary. In both cases, they work in close collaboration with a dedicated hand therapist to provide comprehensive care.