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Hand and wrist surgery

Pain relief is within your grasp

Whether you’re working, playing or taking part in other everyday activities, you rely heavily on your hands and wrists. If you’re experiencing limited mobility, pain or injury, our hand and wrist specialists will listen to your individual concerns and partner with you to determine the best approach to healing.

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What it is

Your care team will evaluate your condition, listen to your concerns and explore treatment options. Many hand and wrist issues respond well to non-surgical treatments, but surgery might be the right approach to help you restore function. Some of the most common hand and wrist surgeries include: 

  • Arthroscopy: Minimally-invasive arthroscopy may be performed to diagnose or treat chronic pain, align fractures, remove ganglions, treat infection, or remove excess joint lining associated with inflammation from conditions like arthritis. 
  • Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery: Pressure on the median nerve can cause numbness or tingling in the hand. Carpal tunnel surgery, a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure, is done to relieve the symptoms.   
  • Joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty): Joint replacement may be an option if you have painful arthritis that doesn’t respond to other treatments. The damaged joint can be replaced with an artificial joint made from plastic, silicone rubber, metal or your own body’s tissue.  
  • Tendon and ligament repair: Tendons can be split or ruptured by cuts, bites, traumatic injury or arthritis. Surgery is often done to reconnect the ends or repair the damage. Severely damaged ligaments can be surgically reconstructed. 
  • Nerve surgery: Minor nerve damage will sometimes heal on its own. If the damaged nerve isn’t healing, surgery may help restore functionality.  
  • Surgical drainage and/or debridement: This procedure is done to drain an abscess, clean an infection area or remove damaged tissue.  
  • Proximal row carpectomy: Degenerative wrist conditions such as arthritis may be helped by proximal row carpectomy. It’s effective at reducing pain and preserving some of your wrist’s motion. 
  • Wrist fusion, partial or full: This surgery removes the surfaces of your joints that are affected by arthritis. Your bones are then joined with plates and screws until they fuse. This leaves your wrist with decreased motion (partial) or rigid and immobile (full wrist fusion) but typically pain free. 
  • Microvascular surgery: This surgery is done on your small blood vessels, using a microscope and special surgical instruments. The surgery reconnects your small blood vessels to restore circulation before injured tissue dies. This procedure may be used in reconstructive surgery or to reattach severed fingers or hands.

Good for treating

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 
  • Compressive neuropathy 
  • Sports injuries 
  • Injuries involving cut tendons, nerves and ligaments 
  • Fractures 
  • Traumatic amputations 
  • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis 
  • Infections 
  • Trigger finger/thumb 
  • Ganglion cysts (abnormal swelling on a tendon’s membrane or coming from a joint) 
  • Lacerations  
  • Overuse syndromes 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

What to expect

Once you’ve decided to have surgery, your doctor and his or her supporting staff will offer information and resources to prepare you for the upcoming procedure. You’ll receive instructions on how to prepare for the operation, learn what to expect in the hospital or surgery center, and get helpful information on how to plan for recovery at home.

Good to know

  • Not every visit to our surgeons results in surgery. Our surgeons may recommend non-surgical treatment options to restore movement or reduce pain. These may include hand, physical and occupational therapy, and more. 
  • Allina Health hospitals and out-patient surgery centers observe the highest standards of quality and best practices.

Related links

First published: 10/26/2020
Last reviewed: 10/26/2020