Which conditions require surgery?
Most minor conditions can be treated with a splint, medication or physical therapy. Conditions with more severe damage or resistance to primary treatment methods can benefit from surgery. These conditions can include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Wrist pain
- Sports injuries of the hand and wrist
- Fractures of the hand, wrist and forearm
- Trigger finger
- Nerve and tendon injuries
- Birth defects
Our hand surgeons are trained in the most current techniques to improve function and enhance you and your family’s quality of life by providing expert care while minimizing discomfort.
Many different types of surgeries can be performed on the hand depending on the cause of the problem. These procedures include:
- Joint replacement (arthroplasty): This type of surgery is used in cases of severe hand arthritis. It involves replacing the affected hand with an artificial joint. This artificial joint may be made of metal, plastic, silicone rubber or your own body tissue, such as a tendon.
- Replantation: This type of surgery reattaches a body part, such as a finger, hand or toe, which has been completely cut or severed from the body. The goal is to restore as much function as possible.
- Skin grafts: Skin grafts involve replacing or attaching skin to a part of the hand that has missing skin. Skin grafts are done by taking a piece of healthy skin from another area of the body, called the donor site, and attaching it to the injured area.
- Skin flaps: A skin flap is used when there is damage to the vessels or extensive tissue damage. In this case, skin, underlying blood vessels, fat and muscles are transplanted from another part of the body.
- Closed reduction and fixation: This may be used when there is a fracture or broken bone in part of the hand including the fingers. This type of surgery realigns the broken bone and then immobilizes or holds it in place while it heals.
- Tendon repair: After damaged tissue is removed, the torn tendon will be sewn back together. If the remaining tendon is too short, the doctor will graft healthy tendon tissue from another area to allow the ends to meet.
- Nerve repairs: Nerve repair aims to return loss of feeling in the hand following an injury. If the nerve is cut or severed, it may be fixed by reattaching it to the other end of the nerve. Or, a nerve graft may be done by replacing the damaged nerve with nerves from other areas of the body.
- Fasciotomy: This procedure is performed to help treat compartment syndrome, a painful condition most commonly caused by injury. It’s characterized by swelling and increased pressure in a small space or compartment in the body. Tissue is cut around the affected area to reduce swelling.
- Surgical drainage or debridement: In severe hand infections, this procedure removes pus from a sore or abscess, or dead and contaminated tissue from the wound. This prevents further infection and helps promote healing.
Medical care and help
Optum specialists are highly specialized to diagnose and treat your exact condition with great precision and care.
To find a hand surgery specialist near you, visit our Providers page.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
Contact Us if you have any questions.