Surgery of the hand is inherently complex, yet requires a delicate touch and refined surgical technique for success. Hand surgeons must have expertise in biological science (of course) along with in-depth knowledge of biomechanics. Here are the important traits to seek out in your NJ hand specialist:
Crucial Hand Surgeon Qualifications
Understanding the engineering and structure of the hand is crucial. A great hand surgeon has a deep familiarity with the way that the parts of the hand should work together. In other words, your hand specialist in NJ must possess combined expertise in the mechanical action of the fingers and hand, which is comparable to a “rope and pulley” system.
Orthopedic training and experience prepare a top hand surgeon to work with, repair and reconstruct these aspects of the hand and integrate the function with the body’s biology.
Layered over the rope and pulley action, where leverage moves the bones, tendons and ligaments create a complex interplay of nerves and muscles. These structures act to initiate and control hand movements according to signals from the brain.
The combination of all these body tissues working together gives you your sense of touch and your manual dexterity to perform fine tasks. Part of your NJ hand specialist’s job involves preserving or improving nerve function and even repairing nerves in some cases. Complex microsurgical skills are required to achieve the best results for a patient.
General Surgery Experience
Helping to fuel all these actions are the blood vessels, veins, arteries and capillaries, which bring blood back and forth through the hands and fingers. These form a complicated web of delicate tube-like structures that connect every part of the body to the heart and lungs.
Blood brings necessary nutrients and oxygen to keep your body tissues, skin and muscles healthy and alive. Your NJ hand surgeon must understand how your blood supply works to get sufficient nutrients to the hand. Part of the hand surgeon’s mission is always to preserve or improve the blood supply of the hands.
Your hand surgeon must also be a skilled general surgeon, using this as a foundation to become a hand surgery specialist.
Further advanced knowledge and experience in reconstructive surgery adds to skills of a top hand surgeon. This expertise allows your NJ hand specialist to bring all of his or her other surgical acumen together to actually rebuild the hands to restore form and function.
Even if your hand surgery is not technically complex reconstructive surgery, seeking out a reconstructive hand surgeon in NJ will give you the opportunity for the best outcome.
Hands that Look Good Function Best
The very best hand surgeons also have plastic surgery experience. This is logical because a hand that does not “look right” will probably not function properly. In the hands, all the major pieces and parts are quite visible in the structure, so it’s easy to tell if the hand structure is off.
For instance, even relatively subtle enlarged joints or bumps on the knuckles or a finger indicate a functional problem. It could be a variety of problems, such as scar tissue, a broken bone, joint deformity from arthritis or various other of hand problems. That’s why your NJ hand specialist should also be a plastic surgeon.
Plastic Surgery Experience
The aesthetic sense of a plastic surgeon means your hand surgeon will work to ensure your hands look as good as they feel and function. While doing this delicate work, your hand surgeon will also ensure that any scars are hidden in the creases of the hand and fingers.
A hand surgeon with plastic surgery skills will keep all of this in mind to give you the best possible result from your hand surgery.
Get the Whole Package for the Best Hand Surgery Outcome
Should you really take time to search out all these skills in your NJ hand specialist? Past patients will tell you it is worth your time to find a top hand surgeon if you can. After all, your hands help you communicate with the world, so you want the best results, not just ok results, from your hand surgery.
You want (and need) your hands to work as well as they possibly can—to do strength tasks like carrying and picking up heavy objects. Your hands should also be capable of fine motor skills to complete tasks requiring accuracy and fine movements of the fingers.
Your ideal hand surgeon encompasses all these skills and experiences. From among this elite group, choose the top hand specialist in NJ that you trust.
Personal Traits of an Excellent Hand Surgeon
The Importance of Trust and Rapport with your Surgeon
If you’ve read any of our blog posts, including this one, you’ll note that we always council patients considering any type of surgery to seek out a surgeon that they trust. Your confidence in your surgeon’s abilities ensures you go into surgery with the right expectations and reduced stress.
The less anxious you are, the better your outcome will typically be. In fact, being relatively relaxed about your surgery can even help you heal faster. Of course, some nervousness is natural and inevitable, it indicates that you’re taking surgery seriously and any surgery is serious business.
Interest and Curiosity
Your ideal hand surgeon really likes people. He or she is very interested in and curious about you, asking you lots of questions. Your surgeon will never assume you’re like all the other patients. The perfect hand surgeon will want to know about you.
What are your goals for your surgery? What is your medical history? What is your work and your favorite activities? What do you need to do and what do you love to do? What are your symptoms? How long have they been a problem? Have you tried non-surgical treatments (if applicable)? And much more.
The surgeon who doesn’t take time to understand you and your specific needs is not the right NJ hand specialist for you, unless you’re in the Emergency Room.
Your ideal surgeon should be an excellent communicator. Your surgeon should explain his or her strategy to solve your medical problem and answer all of your questions specifically. So, you shouldn’t get vague information or lots of jargon.
Your hand specialist in New Jersey should have no problem explaining the best course of action to repair your hands, restore range of motion and relieve pain. Every option should be explained. You should understand the risks involved in your particular surgery combined with your state of health and personal characteristics.
Ultimately, you should come out of a consultation knowing what will happen in surgery and the probable outcome. If you don’t know what to expect, you may be disappointed with your outcome. A great surgeon never wants that to happen.
A dedicated surgeon is not phoning it in. If your hand surgeon rushes through your consultation, doesn’t feel the need to answer questions or is overly distracted, then it is best to find another NJ hand specialist.
Your surgeon should want to achieve the outcome that you want, if it is humanly possible. If it isn’t possible, he or she must explain what is possible and what your outcome is likely to be. (You should get another opinion if you have doubts. Your surgeon should not be insulted at this.)
Overall, choose the surgeon who won’t be happy unless you are happy. A dedicated surgeon is very invested in your outcome and that alone can make all the difference. You’ll get a sense of this when you meet the right surgeon.
Talk to a Hand Specialist
If you choose a hand surgeon with all of the above traits, you’re in good hands. At Cohen/Winters, we see improving lives through surgery as our calling. Our qualifications are impeccable. Beyond this, we strive to excel at all of the traits that we’ve discussed here.
Even still, we are not the right surgeons for everyone. You must decide after meeting your surgeon and discussing your hand surgery, whether this is the surgeon you trust to do the very best for you. If you’re looking for a top tier hand surgeon, we encourage you to meet with our Harvard-trained hand specialist, Dr. Janet Yueh.
About Dr. Janet H. Yueh
After earning her MD at Harvard University Medical School, she completed post-graduate training in both general and plastic surgery at Rutgers NJ Medical School. Dr. Yueh also completed additional training in orthopedic hand surgery at the Harvard’s BIDMC (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center). Dr. Janet Yueh is our hand and reconstructive surgeon at Cohen/Winters and you can learn more about her here.
When you’re ready to find out how hand surgery might benefit you, NJ hand specialist Dr.Yueh is happy to offer a personalized consultation. Just contact us for an appointment at Cohen/Winters Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery in Bergen County, NJ.