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Hand & wrist surgery

Expert care for your hand and wrist concerns

We use our hands and wrists countless times every day for a wide variety of tasks and activities. Should they become damaged in some way, whether by trauma, injury or disease, it can have a significant impact on our ability to carry out many of our normal activities.

If you enjoy taking part in a particular sport, wrist or hand pain could limit your ability to participate. A tingling or numbness in your hand may affect your grip on a tennis racket for example, preventing you from playing at your normal level. Away from sports, seemingly simple tasks like brushing your teeth or twisting the lid off a bottle can become far more challenging when they cause pain in your hand or wrist.

If you’re experiencing pain, stiffness, weakness or numbness in your hand, wrist or forearm, it is sensible to see a doctor for assessment and treatment advice.

At BMI The Chaucer Hospital, our experienced consultants treat the whole range of hand and wrist conditions, helping to get people out of pain and restoring strength, movement and function once more. Would you like them to help you too?

Each of your hands contains 27 bones, as well as numerous muscles, tendons and ligaments. With such complex anatomy contained within a relatively small space, it’s no surprise that problems can easily occur.

Some of the more common reasons for people to come to us for help are:

  • Pain in the hands and/or wrists - may be due to an injury or from natural wear and tear in the joints as we age
  • Numbness/pins & needles in the fingers
  • Nerve-type pain
  • A deformity in a finger
  • Pain in the base of thumb
  • An unexplained lump or bump on a hand or wrist

These symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis – more common in the wrist, fingers and base of thumb. Causes pain and stiffness which tends to become worse over time as the disease progresses
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – caused by pinching or compression of the median nerve (one of three main nerves in your hands and arms). This results in weakness, a tingling sensation and sometimes pain in the wrist and hand.
  • Ganglion – A swelling in the hand or wrist, caused by a build-up of fluid.
  • Trigger Finger – inflammation of a tendon causes one of the fingers to become curled and fixed into a ‘trigger finger’ position over time.
  • Dupuytren’s disease/contracture - a thickening of the layer that sits just under the skin causes small nodules to form, which may be painful. Over time, the fingers begin to curl and eventually lock in a bent position.
  • Ulnar nerve compression
  • A fracture in the wrist or hand
  • Failed surgery – where a previous operation has not provided the benefits and symptom relief expected

Many hand and wrist problems will resolve naturally over time, while others will benefit from early medical intervention. If your symptoms are particularly severe, debilitating or causing you concern, you may like to meet with a Consultant Hand and Wrist Surgeon for expert assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

When you first meet with your consultant, they will take a medical history and discuss your symptoms with you. They will ask you questions like:

  • What symptoms do you have?
  • When did these symptoms first start? Was there an obvious cause (e.g. a fall on your hand)?
  • Have your symptoms been getting worse?
  • Do you have pain? If so, can you describe it?
  • What things are you not able to do as a result of your symptoms?

They will perform a physical examination of your hand, wrist and arm in order to determine your current mobility, strength and flexibility and to see how your symptoms are limiting you.

Depending on your symptoms and clinical assessment, further tests may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. This will often be an X-ray of your hand and wrist, which can help show involvement of the bony structures. If no abnormalities are seen on the X-ray, other diagnostic scans like ultrasound or MRI may be carried out to investigate the tendons, ligaments, muscles and nerves. All of these can be carried out for you here on-site at BMI The Chaucer Hospital where required.

Once a diagnosis has been made, your consultant will be able to discuss suitable treatment options with you. These may include physiotherapy, steroid injections or surgery.

Sometimes, to confirm a diagnosis you may need a form of keyhole surgery known as arthroscopy. This involves passing a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and light attached to it through a small cut in your wrist. This transmits a live feed to a screen, giving your consultant a clear view inside the wrist. This is carried out as a day case procedure.

Many hand and wrist condition will resolve naturally over time or can be managed with non-surgical (conservative) treatments. If you do require surgery, your consultant will explain how it will be done, the benefits you should expect to see as a result and any risks or possible complications you need to be aware of.

People choose The Chaucer for assessment and treatment of their hand and wrist conditions for a number of reasons. Some will have been referred to us by their GP or physiotherapist. Others will have chosen to self-refer.

Many of our patients are from Canterbury but some travel to us from other areas of Kent.

Regardless of how you’ve been referred to us or the distance you’ll be travelling to visit with us, at The Chaucer you will always benefit from:

  • Access to a consultant, ASAP – Hand and wrist conditions can have a significant impact on your quality of life and you’ll want to get any problem treated as soon as possible. With a number of leading hand and wrist surgeons working on-site, you’ll be able to book an appointment without delay.
  • Patient Satisfaction – In an independent survey, 97.9% of the people we treated said they were likely or highly likely to recommend BMI The Chaucer Hospital to their friends and family. We continue to focus on delivering the highest level of care for everyone who visits us for foot or ankle treatment.
  • Bespoke treatment – Your consultant will ensure you receive the optimal treatment for your particular condition. You will see the same consultant each time you visit, ensuring excellent continuity of care. We also have two hand therapists on-site to support you as you recover from surgery.
  • Remote consultations available – The majority of our consultations are carried out in person at The Chaucer, but we are able to offer remote consultations via telephone or online video call if required and where clinically appropriate.
  • Multidisciplinary team: Your consultant is supported by a number of other healthcare professionals including physiotherapists, hand therapists, nurses, occupational therapists and radiologists to ensure you receive the support and care needed at every stage of your treatment.
  • Location – We’re easy to get to, located on the southern outskirts of Canterbury and around two miles from the centre. Our (paid) car park, with 124 spaces, makes parking simple.

Good, effective treatments are available for many hand and wrist conditions. Book your appointment online today.

Specialists Offering Hand & wrist surgery

Mr Andrew Smith

Consultant Orthopaedic & Hand Surgeon

MBBS, BSc, MSc, FRCS (Orth)

BMI The Chaucer Hospital

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