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Hand surgery encapsulates a range of treatments designed to restore the function and appearance of the hand. In recent years, Specialist Plastic Surgeons have been at the forefront of pioneering dramatic advances in treating patients with hand injuries, degenerative disorders, and birth defects of the hand.
Dr Tonks and Dr Rome treat a range of conditions, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Ganglions and Dupuytren’s Contracture.
The carpal tunnel is a passageway through the wrist carrying tendons and one of the hand’s major nerves. Pressure may build up within the tunnel because of disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis), injury, fluid retention during pregnancy, overuse, or repetitive motions. The resulting pressure on the nerve within the tunnel causes a tingling sensation in the hand, often accompanied by numbness, aching, and impaired hand function. This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
In some cases, splinting of the hand and anti-inflammatory medications will relieve the problem. If this doesn’t work, however, surgery may be required.
Surgery of the carpal tunnel aims to release pressure by removing tissue that is pressing on the nerve. The results of the surgery will depend in part on how long the condition has existed and how much damage has been done to the nerve. For that reason it is a good idea to consult with Dr Tonks or Dr Rome early if you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a disorder of the skin and underlying tissue on the palm side of the hand. Thick, scar-like tissue forms under the skin of the palm and may extend into the fingers, pulling them toward the palm and restricting motion. The condition usually develops in mid-life and has no known cause, though it has a tendency to run in families.
Surgery is the only treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture.
Dr Tonks and Dr Rome will cut and separate the bands of thickened tissue, freeing the tendons and allowing better finger movement. The operation must be done very precisely, since the nerves that supply the hand and fingers are often tightly bound up in the abnormal tissue. In some cases, skin grafts are also needed to replace tightened and puckered skin.
The results of the surgery will depend on the severity of the condition. You can usually expect significant improvement in function, particularly after physical therapy.
Since the hand is a very sensitive part of the body, you may have mild to severe pain following surgery. Dr Tonks or Dr Rome will prescribe injections or oral pain medication where required.
Depending upon your procedure, dressings and a splint may be used after surgery to restrict motion and promote healing. How long your hand must remain immobilised and how quickly you resume your normal activities depends on the type and extent of surgery and on how fast you heal.
To enhance your recovery and give you the fullest possible use of your hand, Dr Tonks or Dr Rome may recommend a course of physical and occupational rehabilitation under the direction of a trained hand therapist. Your therapy may include hand exercises, heat and massage therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, splinting, traction, and special wrappings to control swelling. It is crucial that you follow the therapist’s instructions and complete the entire course of therapy if you want to regain the maximum use of your hand.