Surgical Treatment Options for Hand & Upper Extremity Conditions
Orthopaedic surgeons and plastic and reconstructive surgeons are board-certified and fellowship-trained. As part of an academic medical center, Level I Trauma Center and regional referral center, our surgeons each perform a high volume of surgeries. High surgical volumes lead to greater experience and better outcomes.
Minimally Invasive Hand and Arm Surgery
Many surgeries can be performed on an outpatient basis using minimally invasive techniques. Most involve smaller incisions (less than an inch rather than six inches), shorter recovery times and quicker return to normal activities than traditional surgical approaches.
- Arthroscopic basal joint surgery – We are the only program in Wisconsin and one of only a handful in the country to offer arthroscopic basal joint surgery. This treatment for arthritis of the thumb or metacarpal joint involves removing only small portions of bone and provides a new, healthy joint surface. Traditional surgery removes the entire bone at the base of the thumb.
- Mini-open carpal tunnel surgery – This technique requires only local anesthesia for repair of the carpal tunnel. Mini-open carpal tunnel patients begin moving their wrists and digits immediately in the recovery room.
- Arthroscopic ulnar nerve surgery (surgery of the funny bone) – This minimally invasive procedure corrects a degenerative condition caused by aging or an occupational injury or compression.
- Wrist arthroscopy – A variety of wrist injuries and arthritic conditions can be treated arthroscopically.
- Arthroscopic shoulder surgery and arthroscopic elbow surgery – This minimally invasive approach is used for conditions such as rotator cuff disease, labral injuries, joint instability and cartilage removal
Acute Care/Trauma Surgeries
About 70 percent of patients with traumatic injuries have suffered an accident or other incident. The rest of patients suffer from the “wear and tear” of repetitive-use or overuse conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin offer patients orthopaedic hand surgery, hand plastic surgery and upper extremity procedures by surgeons who:
- specialize in limb reattachment and reconstructive surgery;
- are regional referral sources for replantation or reattachment of the fingers, hands and arms;
- successfully repair nerves, arteries, veins and tendons using state-of-the-science microsurgical tools and techniques; and
- are experienced in cases involving multiple traumas and can bring in additional expertise as needed from the medical staff at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Family involvement and counseling, as well as comprehensive pain management are key parts of the trauma care provided.
Acute or complex cases often require highly specialized and intricate microsurgery for reattaching limbs, repairing nerves and arteries, and reconstruction. Microsurgery uses a microscope with high magnification to help surgeons work on delicate structures such as nerves and arteries. For major wound repair, surgeons may employ a plastic and reconstructive surgery technique in which tissue is lifted from a one part of the body and moved to another site with an intact blood supply. Flap surgery differs from a graft, which uses tissue that does not have a blood supply but must grow new blood vessels.
Shoulder Replacement and Other Joint Replacement Surgery
When other treatments no longer offer relief from symptoms of arthritis, overuse, injury and other conditions, replacing diseased joints with an artificial joint may be recommended. Joint replacement surgery for shoulders, elbows and knuckles are all provided through Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.
The new parts allow the joints to move again with little or no pain. As with any surgical procedure, working with an experienced surgeon helps provide better outcomes. Learn more about joint replacement in the upper hand and upper extremities.