Hand Surgery is surgery of the hand and wrist and the nerves of the upper limb.
The treatment of these disorders is done by either Plastic surgeons or Orthopaedic hand surgeons. Certain conditions are more often managed by one of these specialities, but there is often a cross-over and on occasions both surgeons may be necessary for your problem.
Hand complaints range from congenital in the new-born, to those of the elderly such as arthritis. Many patients both young and old who injure their hands are looked after by a plastic surgeon, and these types of problems vary from simple cuts, to tendon or nerve injuries, to amputations of a thumb or fingers. Although good function is the priority, as one’s hands are constantly on view consideration is also given to the aesthetic result, by minimising scars and restoring a natural shape to the hand.
As the hand is vital to normal everyday function for an individual, it is important that problems are treated by a surgeon trained and experienced in this area. Many Hand surgeons will be members of the Irish or British Society of Hand Surgery.
Very often the hand surgeon will work closely with a hand therapist (either Occupational therapist or physiotherapist). The surgeon will refer you to the therapist if required following your operation to help get the best possible outcome from your hand problem.
Certain conditions do not require actual surgery but are best treated with injections, taping or splinting. Most hand surgery can be treated as day-cases and may be done under local anaesthetic, regional anaesthetic (an injection in the armpit or above the shoulder to numb the entire arm) or under general anaesthetic, depending on the problem and the length of the procedure.