Upper Extremity Surgery: What Can It Repair?

Upper Extremity Surgery: What Can It Repair?

Posted on 07/15/2021

The upper extremity anatomy includes the entire arm, from shoulder to fingers. The bones involved are the humerus, radius, and ulna. Trauma to the upper extremities represents some of the most common injuries in surgical practice.

Pain or severe injury to the shoulders, arms, and hands can be treated using different surgical procedures. Injury to the bones, muscles, or joints may require surgical repair. Whether it is the result of serious injury or overuse, surgery can help to repair the problem. 


Treating Extremity Injuries


The extent of the trauma will determine the treatment necessary. Thus, surgeons will carry out a patient evaluation to determine the procedure that will produce an optimum outcome. Treating the injury may require a multidisciplinary approach that involves several specialists, such as orthopedic, plastic, and vascular surgeons. 


In most cases, the surgeons strive to salvage the limb even when the extremity has severe injuries. However, in some rare cases, amputation may be the only option. Severe extremity injuries can lead to complications in surgical treatment.


Wrist and Hand Surgery


One of the most common types of upper extremity surgery is the treatment of the hand or wrist. Hand and wrist surgery is common for dealing with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because an orthopedic surgeon can use surgery to relieve the pressure affecting the median nerve. 


Surgery will usually involve opening up and releasing the carpal ligament, making extra room for the nerve. Using less-invasive arthroscopic surgery causes less trauma to the hand tissues than traditional open surgery.


Elbow Surgery


A surgeon uses upper extremity surgery to repair elbow injuries. A repair usually involves mending fractures, removing any scar tissue, treating torn ligaments, and removing bone spurs. Before the surgery, the surgeon will examine the elbow joint to determine the condition.


Doctors can treat tennis elbow by repairing and reattaching the tendon. They can also fix the damage that results from the golfer’s elbow and pitcher’s elbow. Surgery can also repair severe elbow arthritis.


Surgery of the Shoulder


Shoulder surgery is a common type of upper extremity surgery. The surgery is also a way to fix the joint capsule and the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff includes the shoulder muscles and the tendons. These are the parts that help to keep the arm bone within the socket of the shoulder. 


The shoulder joint capsule comprises bones, tendons, and ligaments that work together to provide movement. There is the labrum, a fibrous tissue that acts as a lining to stabilize the joint. Tears to the labrum are very painful and are usually repaired through shoulder surgery. 


Types of Surgical Procedures


Different types of surgical procedures can be used on the upper extremities. There is the traditional open surgery that involves large incisions. There is also arthroscopic surgery that involves the use of an endoscope. 


The procedure is less invasive and allows surgeons to make smaller incisions. However, the severity of the injuries will determine the best procedure for the patient. If the limb is severely mangled, amputation may be necessary to save the patient’s life. 


Surgical management provides the best outcome for patients with upper extremity injuries. The wound or injury will need to be evaluated to determine the best course of action.


For more information on upper extremity surgery, visit East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity at our office in Oakland, California. You can also call 510-904-1100 today to schedule an appointment. 


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.