About Surgery of the Hand

What are the Basics of Hand Surgery?

Hand surgery is an invasive procedure conducted to correct a wide variety of severe injuries to the hand or fingers. When other treatment methods are ineffective, then surgery may be the only option to correct an issue and jumpstart the healing process.

Many types of hand surgery are conducted on an outpatient basis. This means that the patient can usually go home within hours of the surgery. Though depending on the severity of the injury and complexity of the surgery, the recovery process can last from several weeks to numerous months. 

About Surgery of the Hand

While many patients may undergo hand surgery, each surgery of the hand is unique and may be for multiple reasons. Some patients need reconstructive surgery to improve the appearance of the hand, while others may need surgical repair for function. The hand is complex, which means that many hand surgeries are detailed and require specialized care and recovery. 


Hand surgery is usually invasive, meaning that it may require incisions and manipulation of bones, skin, and other tissues. While hand surgeries are different, the hand is also relatively small and so there are similarities between them. Because the hand is a smaller area of the body, it can mean that some of these surgeries are difficult and complicated. However, most patients are able to return home shortly after surgery even though recovery time may take several weeks or months. Most hand surgeries take place after the patient has tried other treatments and procedures first, but they did not cure the issue or weren’t able to relieve the symptoms. 

Are There Injuries that Often Lead to Hand Surgery?

The fingers and hands are incredibly complex structures with a multiple of mechanisms and connections. Accordingly, there are many different types of injuries that can lead to hand surgery. Though generally speaking, hand surgery is often necessary to correct:

  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis;
  • Dupuytren’s disease;
  • Boxer’s fracture;
  • Metacarpal fractures;
  • Mallet or trigger finger;
  • Flexor tendon injuries;
  • Nerve injuries of the hand; or
  • Other severe injuries of the hand or fingers for which conservative treatment was ineffective. 

In this context, it is vital to note that a qualified hand surgeon or other medical professional should conduct a complete diagnosis. Only after taking relevant imaging tests — such as X-rays or MRIs — and reviewing the patient’s medical history is it possible to recommend hand surgery as a potential treatment option. 

When Does Hand Surgery Become Necessary?

For many patients, hand surgery is generally the final option in addressing a painful injury or condition. After diagnosing an injury, a medical professional usually starts with conservative treatment methods, such as prescription medication, injections, or even physical/occupational therapy

If these conservative methods cause the patient’s injury to remain the same or get worse, then surgery may be appropriate. Common reasons for which a patient may undergo hand surgery include:

  • Bone Alignment/Fragments — When a bone fractures, surgery may be necessary to reset the bone in proper position or clear away small fragments.
  • Nerve Compression — If a nerve is compressed and causing pain or other issues, surgery can help align various structures and relieve the symptoms. 
  • Joint Replacement — When a joint degrades or is subject to trauma, surgery may be necessary to replace the affected joint. 
  • Infection/Disease — If there is infection or disease impacting the structures in the hand or fingers, surgery can help correct the problem and catalyze recovery. 

Symptoms leading to Hand Surgery

The symptoms that may lead to hand surgery depend on the condition, but there are a few things that these conditions frequently have in common

Hand Pain

Pain in the hand is one of the main symptoms that surgery of the hand can mitigate. While many people suffer with pain, chronic pain is very difficult to deal with and can affect a person’s everyday life. When a person has chronic pain in the hand, they may find it difficult to do regular tasks like driving, eating, typing, etc. This pain usually comes from an underlying condition, but hand surgery may be able to correct the issue, leading to pain relief. 

Loss of Function

Often due to deterioration of tissue or bone in the hand, a patient might feel less capable of grasping, picking things up, and other hand motions. Weakness in the hands can sometimes be helped with physical therapy, but surgery may be the only option for some deterioration. Losing function in the hand affects so much of a person’s life. Surgery may be able to build up or repair damaged tissues and bones, leading to more functionality and capability for the patient. 

Range of Motion

Some patients are unable to move their fingers, open or close their hand, or may not be able to grip things. This may or may not be painful, but it still affects a person’s daily life. Sometimes injuries of the hand don’t heal correctly, leading to a loss of range of motion. Surgery can repair damaged tissues to help them regain movement and function. 

Surgery of the Hand Recovery 

Most patients are able to recover quickly from hand surgery. Once the procedure is over, most patients can go home immediately after the surgery, or after a brief stay in the hospital. Many patients will need recovery care and it could take several weeks or months to return to normal, but usually recovery time is manageable and relatively fast, especially in comparison to other invasive surgeries. 

What is the Recovery Process After Hand Surgery?

As there are a multitude of injuries and conditions that can lead to hand surgery, the recovery process is similarly broad. For certain patients with less severe injuries and procedures, recovery might occur in a few weeks. But in more severe cases, recovery can stretch for months and even include follow-up procedures.

Do You Need Help from a Qualified Hand Surgeon?

If you are suffering from a severe hand injury and are considering surgery, it can be tremendously constructive to consult with a qualified hand surgeon. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside, our surgeons all have board-certified credentials and a clear focus on orthopaedic conditions and treatment, including many types of hand surgery. If you have a hand injury that is causing you pain, contact us today to see if hand surgery is appropriate for you. 

Hand Surgery at OAR

If you feel that you may need surgery of the hand, contact us at Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside. We can assist you in diagnosis, treatment, and in hopefully gaining a higher quality of life. Hand problems are often frustrating and difficult to deal with, so let us help you find healing and great care that will change your life. 


Contact us today!