Melbourne Hand Surgery 

fullybooked200We remain committed to accommodating emergency patients, new hospital surgery bookings for existing patients, and surgery for patients who have an existing booked appointment in 2017. However, due to strong demand we are unable to accommodate new appointments for elective conditions until May 2018. If you wish to access an emergency appointment or to be placed on our "Waiting for an Appointment" list our please provide us with your doctor's referral and your registration forms.

Osteoarthritis

Definition

thumb base arthritis bone skin

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition where the smooth articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones is gradually destroyed. The end result is that bare bone ends rub against each other, which causes pain and stiffness. Osteoarthrits can affect any joint in the hand. It most commonly affects the base of the thumb (termed "basal joint arthritis" or "1st CMCJ arthritis", as in the picture on the right and x-ray below) and the fingers (interphalangeal joints).

Osteoarthritis in the fingers

Hebeden's nodes are bony nodules (termed "osteophytes") that form at the end joints of the fingers (the "distal interphalangeal joints"). They are not treated with surgery, and nor are Bouchard's nodes, which is the term given to the bony nodules that form around the proximal interphalangeal joints.

forlife 200x145Digital mucous cysts are also found around the distal interphalangeal joints in people with osteoarthritis. They are ganglion cysts that arise from the distal interphalangeal joint and form a lump between the joint and the nail fold. They are more common in women than men and they commonly create a ridge in the nail. Mucous cysts can be conservatively treated through observation and aspiration (where the contents of the cyst are drained with a needle and syringe) but this method of treatment carries significant risks of recurrence and of infection - and these infections can result in a need for admission to hospital and multiple surgeries to treat the infection. Surgical excision of mucous cysts involves the excision of the cyst and any osteophyte related to the cyst; it is a very effective method of treatment. This procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic as day surgery (wide awake hand surgery).

Non surgical options

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Non surgical options include

  • use of heat and ice
  • analgesics (such as paracetamol)
  • anti-inflammatories
  • corticosteroid injections
  • splinting
  • changed activities

Indications for surgery

Surgery is indicated for osteoarthritis when pain severely limits daily activities despite adherence to non-surgical therapies.

Surgical options

Surgical options involve joint preservation or reconstruction wherever possible. The two main surgical treatments are:

 

FRACS

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