Hand and wrist pain can bring a halt to the simplest activities at work, home or play. Anyone who’s experienced a break or strain understands the frustration of attempting seemingly simple tasks without success. Hand and wrist issues like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and vascular conditions can make day-to-day life extremely difficult. However, Jeffrey Kutsikovich, M.D., a hand and upper extremity specialist at the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, says new therapies and approaches to surgery are getting patients back to full function more quickly. “Orthopaedists are doing a lot of innovative work, and we have the ability to use evidence-based medicine to get patients moving more,” Kutsikovich said.
New Procedures for Patients with Hand and Wrist Pain:
Unlike traditional treatment after hand surgeries, surgeons are now putting patients into removable, custom splints after procedures rather than casts. “We’re using a therapy protocol that gets patients out of casts and moving instead of immobilizing them for weeks after tendon repairs or other hand surgeries,” Kutsikovich said. “Using evidence-based medicine, we’ve found that having patients in custom-fitted splints and working with a certified hand therapist is helping them recover faster.” Kutsikovich said finding a provider with a close working relationship between surgeons and hand therapists is extremely beneficial to patients in search of a full recovery. “It’s not just a surgeon doing a surgery, there is a continuum of care with other disciplines that work together to get you the best results,” he said.
While new early motion therapies are helping patients with hand and wrist pain recover faster, Kutsikovich said performing procedures solely with local anesthesia has multiple benefits to the patient. “We can basically do any procedure in the hand using local anesthesia instead of putting the patient completely under,” Kutsikovich said. “It ends up costing less and reduces the risk that can be associated with anesthesia.” Kutsikovich said this technique is especially helpful in tendon repair surgeries. “We can have patients make a fist and straighten out their hand during the procedure to ensure that the repair is working well, as opposed to waiting for a patient to wake up from anesthesia to test the surgery,” he said.
Conservative treatment options are often available for patients with carpal tunnel or arthritis. “Typically, treatments like splinting, steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications and paraffin wax baths can alleviate patients’ pain, and we try these with almost all patients before we consider surgery,” Kutsikovich said.
About Jeffrey Kutsikovich, M.D.
Jeffrey Kutsikovich, M.D., is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in treatment of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder at the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee. Kutsikovich also serves as the team physician for Independence High School. For more information or to contact his offices in Franklin or Thompson’s Station, call (615) 791-2630.
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