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Reconstructive Hand Surgery

Reconstructive hand surgery is the procedure by which form and function of the hand is restored after injury, disease, or deformity. General, orthopedic, and plastic surgeons who receive special hand surgery training are qualified to perform reconstructive hand surgery. Reconstructive hand surgery may be necessary in cases where injury, congenital deformity, or disease cause significant harm or inhibits the normal hand use and functioning. Reconstructive hand surgery can involve reconstructing, repairing or replacing different parts of the hand including bones, muscles, tendons, joints, skin, and other tissues.

Traumatic injury to the hands resulting in extensive burns; crushed parts, deformity or loss of digits may require reconstructive hand surgery. Common procedures to treat these types of injuries include resetting and repairing dislocations and fractures, repairing nerves and tendons, caring for burns, and reattaching missing digits. After the initial repairs are complete, full reconstructive hand surgery may also include replacement of hand skin through skin grafting, skin and muscle flap procedures, and microsurgical reconstruction of skin, muscle, bone, or nerve by means of tissue transplantation.

Congenital hand deformities can require reconstructive hand surgery. Syndactyly is when children are born with webbed fingers. This is more common in boys than girls and affects one in two thousands babies. Most reconstructive hand surgery in these cases occurs when the child is young (about six months) in order to prevent permanent deformities and to allow normal development of hand function. This operation requires that the webbed skin be cut in a zigzag shape and reconstructed to form two (or more) separate digits. Skin flaps from the back of the fingers or groin area are often taken and grafted into the new web spaces. Other deformities that often require reconstructive hand surgery include: missing, extra, short, curved, or deformed digits.

There are many instances where hand-related diseases will require reconstructive hand surgery. Patients suffering from severe arthritis of the hands or wrists are often successfully treated with arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery. Rheumatoid joints can also be reconstructed. Treatment of infections and tumors in the hands can also be achieved through reconstructive hand surgery. There are several other diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), Dupuytren's Contracture, and tendonitis that may benefit from reconstructive hand surgery.

The complexities of reconstructive hand surgery can vary from the more common procedure of carpal tunnel release to the more complex procedures of limb reattachment or tumor removal. Most reconstructive hand surgery is done on an outpatient basis under a local or a general anesthesia. Physical therapy is often a significant part of the recovery process. Reconstructive hand surgery recovery time can very depending on the nature of the injury. A well-trained reconstructive hand plastic surgeon will discuss recovery time, risks and complications, and the expected results of reconstructive hand surgery with you prior to the procedure.

If you would like more information about reconstructive hand surgery, please choose a state below to locate a plastic hand surgery specialist in your area.