About Hand Surgeons and their Procedures in Birmingham, Alabama
Hands are the most valuable tool that humanity has at their disposal. They have the power to communicate, to create, to provide and to serve as a symbol of connection. We have used them for raising our children, to fight our battles, and to ultimately build our civilization to what it is today. And they still keep us going. So, what happens if we severely lose function in one of them, or never had one perfectly formed, to begin with? You call a hand surgeon or a prosthetic specialist to replace it.
What is a Hand Surgeon?
Orthopedic and plastic hand surgeons both specialize in the treatment of injuries of the forearm, wrists, and hand’s musculoskeletal system and its supporting tissues, which includes nerves, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Occasionally, they do address the upper arm. This is mainly because of the interconnected nature of the hand, forearm, and bicep.
They are recognized by the medical community as sub-specialists and it shows in their studies.
Most people know the bare minimum requirement of schooling to become any medical expert is 8 years. After they get a doctorate degree, they go under 5 years of orthopedic residency and a one-year long fellowship.
The median salary for plastic surgeons is $355,000 a year. Their orthopedic counterparts, the salary is actually higher at $443,000. Also, there are enough hand surgeons in America to form a specific branch of studies, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. The requirement for membership is an extra year of additional training and a test for certification.
The training is extensive and covers a litany of procedures. These include cuts, sports injuries, wrist pain, carpal tunnel, arthritis, tumors, cysts, and the creation of prosthetics for finger or hand replacement.
Non-Surgical Hand Procedures
Interestingly enough, not all hand surgeon visits in Birmingham, Alabama, or in any other part of the United States, ends in surgery. Even the ASSH, a society of hand surgeons, states this in their “About Us” section of their website. In fact, most surgeons surprisingly will consider it as a last result. After all, surgery is often seen as something invasive by most patients.
Especially, for older patients who have slower recovery time and are more likely to bleed out.
A few non-invasive procedures that most include: the use of a brace or splint, draining fluids in cysts or tumors, over the counter medicines, steroid injections, and physical therapy.
However, if the condition is severe enough to where hand surgery is a requirement, there is typically a consultation period.
Common Hand Surgery Procedures
There are several hand surgery procedures, some of which are more common than others.
Carpal Tunnel Release
The most common condition is carpal tunnel syndrome. When the tendons and the median nerve pass through the carpal tunnel of the wrist, the circulation gets cut off by pressure. The procedure is done by splitting the carpal ligament to ease the pressure from the nerve.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Fasciectomy
Dupuytren’s Contracture is a condition in which an unnessecarry tissue forms in the palm of your hand and fingers. It is painless mostly just causes skin nodules. However, they can form bands that can make your fingers curl into your palm, limiting your mobility. The Fasciectomy is essentially excess tissue removal.
Trigger Finger Release
A trigger finger is when a finger can bend normally, but snap naturally into a curled position. This is caused by a tendon which is far too thick to the point where the finger becomes stuck. If a splint doesn’t do the trick, then a minor operation to open the tunnel and free the affected tendon.
Rheumatoid arthritis of the knuckles can limit mobility at best and outright painfully deform your hand at worst. Thankfully, hand surgeons know how to replace knuckles with artificial joints that can improve hand position, increase function and reduce pain.
Common Wrist Surgery Procedures
When the joints of your wrist suffer from too much damage, there may need to be another way to connect your wrist to your hand. A wrist fusion is a procedure that involves fixing the bones of the wrist to the bones of the hand. This can make a person’s wrist stronger and can decrease arthritic pain, but it can also limit its vertical movement.
Wrist Joint Replacement
This procedure happens less often. It involves the replacement of the wrist and can help increase the range of wrist movement for an arthritic patient.