stethoscope on a keyboard

Hand & Extremity Surgery

Restore Function, Maximize Cosmetic Appearance

When performing hand surgery and surgery of the wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder, Emory plastic and reconstructive surgeons work to restore function as well as maximize cosmetic appearance applying such techniques as microsurgery. Post-procedure, division surgeons will refer patients to any necessary rehabilitative services.

For a complete listing of conditions treated with our hand surgical procedures, visit our hand conditions page.

Closed and Open Reductions and Fixations

Realigns fractured bone, after which internal fixtures such as wires, rods, splints and casts immobilize the area during healing.

Complex Upper Extremity Reconstruction

Done following severe conditions such as spinal cord injury, brachial plexus injury, stroke, severe trauma and/or loss of tissue.

Fabrication of Custom Splints

Treats congenital anomalies, nerve injuries, palsy, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, fractures, and tendon injuries.


Treats the early stages of compartment syndrome by placing surgical incisions to release pressure and remove any damaged tissue, thereby preventing any additional decrease in function of the affected area.

Joint Replacement

Also known as arthroplasty, this procedure uses artificial joints made out of metal, plastic, silicone rubber, or the patient's own tissue.

Peripheral Nerve Repair and Reconstruction

Often achieved with microsurgical suture repair.

Reconstruction of Missing Digits

Typically done with toe-to-thumb or toe-to-finger transfers.

Skin Flaps

Similar to skin grafting except that the retrieved skin includes the underlying blood vessels, fat, and muscles.

Skin Grafting

Involves the transfer of a patch of healthy skin from one area of the patient's body to the affected area.

Surgical Drainage

Done if there is an abscess in the hand, removing the collection of pus. Debridement, or cleansing of a wound to prevent further infection and to help healing, may be used if the infection or wound is severe.

Tendon Repair, Primary or Delayed Primary

Primary tendon repair is usually done within 24 hours of trauma, while delayed primary tendon repair is typically done a few days afterwards. Both procedures involve direct surgical correction of the injury. Secondary repairs may occur two to five weeks or longer after the injury and generally rely on inserting tendons from other areas of the body in place of the damaged tendon. Occasionally, more complex methods are necessary.