A hand surgery specialist is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats disorders and injuries involving the hand, wrist and forearm. As such, hand specialists need to be able to treat the muscles, bones, skin, tendons and ligaments in the hand and neighboring area.
Most patients are referred to a hand specialist by their primary care physician.
What kind of training does a hand surgery specialist need?
A hand surgery specialist, also known as an orthopedic hand surgeon, is trained to perform surgery on the hand, wrist and forearm. They also learn how to treat injuries, diseases, deformities and congenital defects.
Like all medical doctors, hand specialists begin their education by going to medical school. After that, they serve a residency for five to seven years during which they study general surgery, orthopedic surgery or plastic surgery. After completing their residency, the hand specialist will undertake a fellowship devoted to hand surgery.
Hand surgeons often seek board certification, and they need to be certified twice. They will first need to be certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. Only after earning the certification in general surgery can a hand specialist seek certification in hand surgery. To get that certification, the hand surgeon needs to take an exam administered by either the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery or the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
What does a hand specialist treat?
Common conditions treated by a hand specialist can include the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sports injuries
- Trigger finger
- Tennis elbow
What is a ganglion cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a benign tumor and the most common growth that develops on the hand. While they can develop in different locations, they usually appear on the back of the wrist. The ganglion cyst grows out of tissues like a ligaments or joint linings, and it is filled with a slippery and viscous fluid.
While researchers have not found a definitive cause for ganglion cysts, they have observed that the cysts develop after repeated stresses to a joint. Ganglion cysts are most common in young people between 15 and 40 years old, and they are more common in women than in men.
Small ganglion cysts are generally harmless, but bigger ones can cause pain and muscle weakness by pressing on a nerve and affect appearance.
There are many ways to treat ganglion cysts ranging from simply watching to see if it goes away on its own through immobilizing the joint to surgically removing the cyst.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, more formally known as lateral epicondylitis, is a type of tendonitis that affects the outside of the forearm. It is caused by repetitive overuse that causes the tendons near the elbow to develop small tears. Those tears can cause inflammation and make it painful and difficult to grip or lift objects. Untreated tennis elbow can become chronic. Our hand surgery specialist can provide you with the proper course of treatment depending on your needs.
If you have suffered a hand injury, visit our trusted hand surgery specialist at Arora Hand Surgery, located in Howell, West Bloomfield, Macomb, and Warren. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more!