Hand Surgery in Salt Lake City, Utah
With continually evolving technology, great advances have been made in hand surgery for problems ranging from degenerative disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome to trauma and problems such as trigger finger to congenital conditions.
Dr. Chidester’s expertise with integrated plastic and reconstructive surgery, including micro hand surgery, makes him the right choice for various hand surgeries.
What Is Hand Surgery?
Hand surgery, due to the complexity of the structures involved, is a very specialized field of medicine that requires skill in both plastic and orthopedic surgery. Although hand surgery can encompass a wide range of procedures, from wound repair to addressing problems such as arthritis, this page is meant to give you an overview of some of the hand surgeries performed by Dr. Chidester.
These procedures are all performed on an outpatient basis.
Should I Consider Hand Surgery?
Some cases involving the need for hand surgery are obvious. For instance, when the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome begins to interfere with your job or even your lifestyle. Atraumatic laceration is an obvious situation. But when it involves damage to tendons and nerves, this isn’t something for your local GP to handle. Singular conditions such as Dupuytren’s contracture can develop due to no known cause, but surgery is the only treatment option. As you would expect, every condition and situation is unique, but when it comes to possible hand surgery, a consultation with Dr. Chidester is a good place to start.
How are hand injuries addressed?
Some of the most common hand surgeries performed by Dr. Chidester are due to injury. He is called on to repair injuries to the tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and joints. He resets fractured bones. Or the patient may have burns, cuts, or injuries to the outer skin. These are some of the more common hand surgeries performed in Dr. Chidester’s Salt Lake City location.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome commonly occurs in people whose job or hobby requires repetitive motion of the hand or wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is due to compression and pressure caused when the median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This pressure may build up within the tunnel due to arthritis, injury, fluid retention during pregnancy, overuse, or repetitive motions.
When this occurs, the pressure on the median nerve causes a tingling sensation in the hand that is often accompanied by numbness, aching, and eventual impaired hand function. The patient now has carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Hand Surgery
In some cases, splinting and the use of anti-inflammatory medications can relieve the problem. But often, as the person continues the behaviors for work, surgery may be the only solution. The goal is to relieve pressure on the median nerve. In the open method, Dr. Chidester makes an incision from the middle of the palm to the wrist. He cuts the tissue that is pressing on the nerve, releasing the pressure. This may also be done endoscopically, if appropriate, making for an easier recovery.
When a person develops trigger finger, it can involve any of the fingers and the thumb. When healthy, the tendons that move the fingers (there are two for each finger) use a system of pulleys to move the finger. These tendons run through various sheaths up the length of the finger. Normally when a finger bends, the tendon smoothly glides in and out of the sheath. If the tendon or the sheath becomes thickened, the tendon can catch and lock. When the tendon catches or locks, the patient will feel a popping when flexing and extending the finger. The finger may also lock in the flexed position, or it may be difficult to flex the digit at all. This can happen as a result of trauma, arthritis, or repetitive activities.
Surgery For Trigger Finger
Steroid injections can reduce the inflammation, as can splinting. But often surgery is necessary. Dr. Chidester performs this surgery as an outpatient procedure. The straightforward surgery involves making an incision to access the first pulley. Then he opens the pulley so that the tendon can glide back and forth without catching.
Repairing A Hand Injury
Microsurgery has dramatically improved surgical options and made for easier recovery from various hand surgeries, including those to repair injury. These are some techniques used by Dr. Chidester for injury repair:
This involves transferring skin, bone, nerves, and other tissues from another part of the body to the injured hand.
Here, Dr. Chidester moves skin, along with its underlying fat, blood vessels, and muscle, from a healthy part of the body to the injured hand.
In cases of amputation, microsurgery can enable the digit or the entire hand to be reattached. This may require several surgeries.
Recovery After Hand Surgery
As you would expect, recovery is quite variable depending on the type of hand surgery you had. Issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome do not involve difficult recovery. Other procedures will have more involved recoveries. Due to the extensive nerve network through the hands, these recoveries can involve some severe pain at times. It’s important with most hand surgeries to follow Dr. Chidester’s instructions as to not using that hand. Immobilization is important for healing. Also, it’s likely that physical and/or occupational therapy will be a part of your recovery.