What is this?
Hand surgery is a very narrow section of surgery dealing with medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the upper limbs (hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, arm and shoulder). It is an interdisciplinary specialisation, which makes use of elements of general surgery, traumatic-orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery, and neurosurgery.
Development of hand surgery reaches back to the times of the World War II when Dr Sterling Bunnell was assigned the task of providing for war hand traumas. Dr Bunnell quickly understood that it was better to have one surgeon with extensive knowledge, well trained and experienced in hand and upper limb surgery than summoning an orthopedist to attend a bone trauma, a general or vascular surgeon to tend a wound of a blood vessel, a neurosurgeon to treat a damaged nerve or a plastic surgeon to tend damaged soft tissues. This assumption has been relevant from 1945 until the present day.
Dr Bunnell best comprised it when he wrote: “Effective treatment of these patients is very difficult. Surgical reconstruction of a hand requires special, precise technique. It is a complex system requiring cooperation of various consultants – an orthopaedist, a plastic surgeon, a neurosurgeon – the knowledge of each one of them separately is insufficient to repair a hand. As a hand injury is complex, a surgeon must be the same. A surgeon must assess the situation in order to prepare himself or herself to deal with each and any injury of the limb tissues.”