Treatments by a Hand Specialist
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses an arthroscope (thin, flexible tube) to access your affected joints and project an image of them on large screen. This image guides your orthopaedic surgeon as he used specialized instruments through the arthroscope to repair any damage.
Recovery from arthroscopic surgery generally includes wearing a splint for a short time, followed by physical therapy. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the specific details of your recovery with you prior to your procedure.
Amputations and Replantations
With the technical advances afforded by modern science, it is now possible to reattach many amputated limbs. However, such replantation is not always in the best interest of the patient as function and appearance of the limb, hand, or digit may be better without it. The decision must be made based on a case-by-case basis. If reattachment is to be performed, it must be done with minimal delay.
The best hope for a successful replantation is when the amputation is sharp or clean. Crushed or contaminated amputations are avoided.
Hand and finger reattachments are more successful than those of the upper arm and shoulder. Replantation is often performed by a hand specialist when multiple digits or the thumb are involved.
Age is a factor; children do better than adults with many replantations.
In the event that an amputation becomes necessary, a state-of-the-art prosthesis can be created to replace the appearance and part of the function of the missing body part. These prostheses restore length to a partially amputated digit, supply opposition for a thumb or finger or, in the case of a total hand, stabilize and hold objects with bendable fingers.
Read more about prosthetics here.
At MedStar Health, our hand specialists work with each patient to establish a treatment plan—including the techniques used in supervised and independent therapy sessions—based on their individual situation and needs.
Additionally, our therapists teach and guide each patient to maximize the use of the dysfunctional extremity while preventing re-injury or worsening of condition. Therapists may educate the patient on the disease process, the healing process, and rationale for the prescribed therapy techniques. Learn more about our Rehabilitation Services.
An assortment of services are offered, including
- Management of acute or chronic pain
- Protective splinting for immobilization and controlled motion post-operatively or post-injury
- Exercise programs to restore motion, strength, and fine and gross motor coordination
- Home exercise programs
- Sensory re-education programs after nerve injury
- Thermal and electrical modalities to minimize pain and swelling, facilitate restoration of joint motion and tendon gliding, and decrease hypersensitivity
- Whirlpools to assist with wound healing
- Social work consultations
Evolved from both the occupational therapy (OT) and the physical therapy (PT) professions, hand therapy is a specialty that provides quality rehabilitation of the hand and arm. Therapists must meet education and experience requirements to become Certified Hand Therapists through the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.
Hand therapy is ideal for patients with
- Bone fractures
- Injured tendons or nerves
- Amputation of a finger, hand, or arm
- Repetitive motion disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and arthritis
- Neurological disorders
Upon referral, an experienced OT or PT completes a full evaluation of the affected extremity. Following the evaluation, an individualized treatment program is developed to address the patient's needs. The program is modified as necessary throughout the course of therapy to maximize functional outcome and use of the injured or affected extremity.
Minimally Invasive Nerve Surgery
Minimally invasive surgeries use smaller incisions than traditional open surgical techniques. This advanced procedure also causes less pain and allows you to recover faster and more easily.
Our hand specialists use minimally invasive surgery to treat conditions including: