Hand Surgery: Cost, Risk, Recovery

Overview

Hand surgery is a general term for different types of procedures aimed at restoring hand and finger function and repairing hand appearance.

Hand surgery may be done for many reasons, including:

  • Hand injuries
  • Rheumatic diseases, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, that change and damage the structures in the hand
  • Degenerative changes to the structures in the hand
  • Problems or defects that are present at birth, or congenital
  • Infections

Candidates

People who have the following conditions are the ideal candidates for a hand surgery:

  • Patients with painful illnesses like carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and Dupuytren’s contracture
  • No additional medical conditions or other illnesses that mey impair healing
  • Nonsmoker
  • Have a positive and optimistic outlook for the surgery
  • Be ready to be committed to the plastic surgeon’s treatment

Risks

It is important to know about the possible risks and complications by holding a talk with your plastic surgeon before surgery. You might undergo some of the following risks in a hand surgery:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Fluid collection
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Skin concerns like contour irregularities, discoloration and swelling
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Injury to the blood vessels, nerves or tendons
  • Unexpected hand swelling
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs—can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

Costs

The exact amount of money spent on hand surgery varies from person to person, depending on the complexity of surgery, the techniques used, the procedures performed, and the office location.

However, regardless of all these factors involved, in the U.S., hand surgical procedures may cost from $1,800 to more than $25,000. Non-surgical options can be less than $10,000.

Preparation

Prior to hand surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Stock on daily necessities and over-the-counter medicines
  • Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplement
  • Try to limit the use of your hand
  • Set up a support system in your house
  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation

You will also be instructed with some basic information about surgery, including:

  • What to do on the day of surgery
  • Where your procedure will be performed
  • The use of anesthesia during your procedure
  • Post-operative care and follow-up

Surgical steps

Hand surgery is performed in three steps:

Anesthesia

Your doctor will administer medications such as intravenous sedation and general anesthesia for your comfort during the surgical procedures.

Incisions

  • To treat traumatic hand injury, your doctor will repair your retracted tendon and reconnect it with surgical techniques.
  • To repair carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may make an incision from the middle of the palm to the wrist, or use an alternative called an endoscopic carpal tunnel release.
  • To repair a birth deformity of joined fingers, your doctor will consider skin grafting or Z-plasty, so that flexibility might increase at the incision site.

Closing the incisions

Your plastic surgeon may close your incisions with removable sutures or non-removable sutures depending on the condition.

Recovery

After surgery, bandages or dressings may be applied to your surgical site, with the support of splints sometimes.

Your plastic surgeon will give your specific postoperative instructions about cleansing, taking prescribed medications and hand therapy exercises, and having follow-up visits. Try your best to follow these useful instructions for better and faster recovery.

Keywords: hand surgery.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.