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Hand and wrist surgery in Reading

Circle Reading’s wrist and hand surgery unit combines the expertise and experience of leading consultants in this area with the availability of the latest diagnostic technology to provide the very best clinical care for our patients.

Circle reading’s wrist and hand surgery unit combines the expertise and experience of leading consultants in this area with the availability of the latest diagnostic technology to provide the very best clinical care for our patients.

Our consultants are able to request a range of diagnostic techniques to complement their expert clinical assessment so the right options are taken at every stage of your injury process. Our diagnostic imaging department is supported by our radiology consultants who provide additional expertise where more specialist diagnostics or more detailed radiology reporting are required.

Our holistic approach to wrist and hand surgery also means that our patients are fully supported pre and post operation by our physiotherapy department when undergoing wrist and hand surgery. The close working relationship between our surgeons and physiotherapists as well as the detailed protocols our orthopaedic department have developed for our wrist and hand operations ensures the most rapid return to activities of daily living and sports can be achieved.

The wrist and hand are a highly complex system of bones and joints designed as such to be able to perform several important functions.

These include being able to perform complex grips such as opposition, firm power grips, manage weight bearing through the hands as well as perform fine, dexterous tasks.

Due to the complex anatomy, repetitive use and the differing needs of these tasks, the wrist and hand joints are susceptible to both traumatic injuries, degenerative changes, as well as other problems.

Degenerative conditions: often seen in the wrist joint and base of thumb joints, which may be the cause of occupational overuse in patients. Degenerative arthritis of the finger joints may be due to genetic influences.

Traumatic injuries: often the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. This may result in fractures to the ends of the forearm bones (ulna and radius) or some of the small bones of the hand.

Other problems: Other unique conditions which may require specialist orthopaedic assessment and treatment include:

  • ligament injuries
  • injuries to the fibrous cartilage of the wrist
  • pressure-related changes near to the wrist joint can give rise to a nerve compression problem known as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • tears and ruptures to the tendons of the forearm muscles

Initial consultation

Our wrist and hand consultants will firstly look to get an in-depth understanding of the history of your problem, including factors such as the severity, the mechanism of any injuries as well as occupational or lifestyle factors which may predispose you to specific conditions.

Associated symptoms such as clicking, clunking, swelling or instability in the wrist or hand can often also give important to aid with diagnosis.

Possible diagnoses will be examined by specifically testing each structure in the wrist and hand. This may entail a number of specialist techniques, including:

  • Recognising characteristic signs of inflammation or arthritis
  • Palpation (feeling the tissues under the skin to assess for pain)
  • Range of motion tests
  • Special tests which specifically stress the ligaments and stability of the wrist
  • Resistance tests to check the power of the muscles and tendons

State-of-the-art diagnostics available for you

Diagnostic tests can be requested and examined by our wrist and hand surgeons and, if needed, our radiology consultants.

Due to the complex anatomy of the wrist and hand, several tests may be required to examine different aspects of the injury in question before a management plan is drawn up. These tests can include:

  • X-rays: useful when assessing fractures to the wrist and hand. Commonly, specialised views may be required to examine the small bones at the base of the hand. X-rays can also be used to determine the extent of any degenerative changes to the joints.
  • MRI scans: the imaging modality of choice when inspecting soft tissue such as the ligaments, triangular fibrocartilage (TFCC) of the wrist joint and the tendons of the forearm and hand. In some cases, MRI scans may also be requested when X-rays have not sufficiently excluded a fracture.
  • Ultrasound scans: useful when assessing tendon tears or inflammation and fluid within the tendon sheath (tissue around the tendons). Cysts and lumps (known as ganglions) are often best imaged under ultrasound, enabling your consultant to best establish the nature of these problems.

The right treatment for you, always

You will always be given space and time to talk about how your symptoms have affected you. Your individual goals, whether sporting or non-sporting, will also be thoroughly discussed in order to determine the best possible management plan.

As well as offering the best possible surgical outcomes, our hand and wrist surgeons are also able to administer image-guided injections or refer on for rehabilitation with our specialist physiotherapists or hand therapists when needed.

Research indicates that when the right treatment is delivered by experienced surgeons with other services including radiology, physiotherapy and hand therapy supporting this treatment in a specialist environment, outcomes for patients improve. Our wrist and hand service includes:

  • Expert assessment from an experienced consultant
  • Diagnostic imaging with no waits
  • Latest imaging techniques
  • Leading surgical techniques available
  • Leading musculoskeletal physiotherapists and rehabilitation equipment
  • Communicative working environment to ensure all of our specialists work towards your goals

Ongoing support after your surgery

After undergoing a surgical procedure around the wrist and hand, some patients may need to undergo a period of immobilsation. As this can be an uncomfortable experience for some, we use a range of braces to help minimise this discomfort. Regular follow-up appointments with our orthopaedic team and physiotherapists/ hand therapists ensures your recovery remains in expert hands.

Following consultation with our wrist and hand surgeons, if patients elect to manage their condition without surgery, our wrist and hand surgery unit are able to refer directly to appropriate non-surgical management.

Our hospital physiotherapy and hand therapy units are staffed with specialist therapists in this area, who work closely with our surgical unit to allow a seamless transition of care.

Once you are able to increase the workload on your injured wrist and hand, our state-of-the-art exercise facilities and rehabilitation equipment will ensure that you reach your goals in the best possible timeframes. This close working relationship allows our patients to increase the workload on the wrist and hand post-operatively as soon as is safe.

Not only is our wrist and hand surgery and related clinical care second to none, your treatment will be conducted in a modern, clean facility which you will feel comfortable in throughout your treatment.

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