Melbourne Hand Surgery 

Coronavirus update: We will be closed on Wednesday 8 April, but will reopen at 8:30am on Thursday 9 April. 

Melbourne Hand Surgery has mechanisms to protect our patients and staff while we continue to provide healthcare services. All consultations are now conducted via telehealth (phone or videoconference), except where we have previously confirmed the requirement for an in-person physical examination or wound care management.  Only emergency surgery is being conducted in hospitals for the foreseeable future, in keeping with Government directives. 

Due to the change in circumstances we will be closed on Fridays until further notice. If our practice is unable to physically open for business at any point in the coming weeks or months we will communicate this to existing scheduled patients via email and SMS (please do not attempt to reply other than with Y or N to an SMS, as the automated system does not facilitate this). Incoming telephone calls and receipt of voicemail messages may be temporarily affected by such a change. We will use this website banner to update you on changes to our practice and the availability of non-urgent procedures and surgery in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you for your understanding as our entire community works through these unprecedented and rapidly evolving times together (last updated: 4 April 2020).

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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