If you’re looking to get hand surgery, then chances are you’re looking for the best hand surgeon in your area. You might ask yourself questions such as:
“Where can I look for the best hand surgeon in Texas?” or if you live in a specific geographic area, you may want to search, “Best hand surgeon in Houston, Texas” for example.
“What types of hand surgery will the best hand surgeon offer?”
“Do I need a hand surgeon, or will my injury heal on its own?”
If it’s your first time getting hand surgery, then you might feel anxious about the procedure, and frustrated looking for the best hand surgeon in Texas. You may have an injury or condition that is serious, and you want the best possible outcome, considering the circumstances.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. By helping you understand what to look for when searching for the best hand surgeon in Texas for your surgery. Read on to learn more.
Do Your Research
The first thing you’ll want to do when finding a hand surgeon is to do your research. One resource is your primary care physician. Your doctor knows your health better than anyone else, so they’ll know which hand doctors are the best fit for you. Your trusted primary care doctor may not know there are other options, so while it is a good starting point, you may want to look further on your own for the best hand surgeon in Texas.
Word of mouth is also a good idea. Ask your friends and family if they’ve ever had hand surgery, and if there’s a doctor they would recommend. This makes it easy to create a list of hand surgeons in your area, instead of having a giant list made from online research.
When asking your friends and family for recommendations, ask questions such as:
“What was the hand surgeon’s bedside manner like?”
“Did they explain the different hand surgery types to you, so you understood the procedure before going into it?”
“Did they give you good advice on how to recover from your surgery?”
Next, you should do online research. Go to websites such as HealthGrades.com or other organizations. Keep in mind certain third party web sites can have incomplete information, or are paid advertisements for physicians to be recognized, and may not be objective.
Take a Look at Credentials and Reviews
Speaking of doctors being members of a society, another important way of finding the best hand surgeons is by looking at their credentials. In addition you should look on their website to see if they have certifications and the required training to perform hand surgery.
You’ll also want to look at your state’s licensing website. You can learn here about whether the doctors you’re researching have ever had issues with disciplinary actions or malpractice claims. You will also want to ensure that any hand surgeon you’re considering is:
- Someone who has passed the Certification in the Subspecialty Surgery of the Hand, an exam that tests knowledge of every aspect of hand surgery and treatment
- Board-certified in plastic, orthopedic, or general surgery
- Someone with high ethical and moral standing in the medical community
- Someone who has made contributions in the hand surgery area
- Have they published papers in their field?
By doing this research, you’ll ensure you find a hand surgeon who is not only experienced but also professional and certified in all the right areas. This means you will have a high-quality experience.
Additionally, it’s smart to have a hand surgeon who has years of experience, instead of one who’s fresh out of med school.
Services Offered by the Best Hand Surgeon
A sign that a hand surgeon is good is if they offer many services related to the hand. This means that they have a full understanding of how to fix hand health problems—and they’ll also have extensive experience. Any good hand surgeon will provide the following treatments:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome therapies and surgery
- Trigger finger of trigger thumb
- DeQuervains Tendonitis
- Wrist pain and Wrist injuries
- Finger and hand treatment after sports injuries
- Healing cuts on hands and fingers
- Arthritis of the thumb
- Distal Radius Fractures
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Ganglion Cyst
- Gunshot wounds to the Hand
- Burns to the Hand
- Tendon injuries of the hand, such as flexor tendons or extensor tendons
- metacarpal or phalangeal fractures or broken bones of the hand
Additionally, hand surgeons restore the use of fingers and hands after they have been treated. They will also do reconstructive surgery, and use procedures such as skin grafting when you have amputated the tip of your finger or experienced some similar kind of hand injury. Additional hand surgery procedures include:
- The skin flap procedure, which is when the surgery is done on a body part that has its own internal blood supply
- The closed reduction and fixation procedure, which is done to fix a broken bone or fracture in the fingers or bone by putting them back in the right place, then fixing them into place with a splint, rod, or cast
- Tendon repair
If any of the hand surgeons you’re looking to have your hand fixed by doesn’t offer these services—or only a few of them—then we recommend that you move on to a different doctor on your list.
If they only offer a few services, then you’re risking going to a hand surgeon who doesn’t have much experience or who might prefer to perform a surgery that they’re more used to instead of the one that’s right for you.
Think About Insurance
At this point, you should have a good list of hand surgeons in your area. A way to narrow down this list is by finding out if they take your insurance. If there’s a particular surgeon you are thinking of using, but they don’t take your insurance, then ask them if they have payment plans for people in your situation.
Hand surgeons may also accept cash, and may also own their own surgery center, which could cut down on costs of surgery if needed. Some procedures can also be done in office which can help as well.
Ask the Right Questions
Now that you have a list of surgeons in your area who are highly recommended and qualified, it’s time to make some calls. Make appointments with these surgeons, asking if you can have an initial consultation where you can meet the surgeon and ask them questions.
The first question you’ll want to ask is: “How many patients have you treated, and how many of these treatments were successful?” If the number of successful treatments is high, this means that the surgeon has extensive experience, which is what you’re looking for.
The second question is: “How many hand surgeries do you perform each month?” This will help you determine if they have extensive current experience. After all, if they’ve done many surgeries, but this was five years ago, then you won’t want this surgeon doing surgery on your hand.
Then, you should ask: “What are your specific practice areas?” Depending on what your injury is, it might turn out that even a highly experienced surgeon hasn’t done the surgery you’re looking for in a long time. This will help you avoid any surgeons who don’t have recent experience in the surgery you need.
Additionally, you should ask questions about what type of medical practices and tools they use. If these aren’t the most innovative or trusted methods and tools, then it’s smart to stay away from this surgeon.
Additional Questions to Ask
An additional question you should ask is: “How long do you think it will take me to recover?” If the surgeon seems sure of their answer and gives a very specific time amount, this is suspect—since hand surgery recoveries can vary in length significantly depending not only on the surgery but also on the person who has received them.
If your doctor replies that the time of recovery can vary, but then tells you about how they will help your recovery—providing you with the right medications and exercises, for example—then this is a good sign. You want a surgeon who’s going to be there for you not only during the surgery but after.
Finally, you should ask your potential surgeon if they do minimally invasive surgical treatments. These treatments are done when the surgeon makes smaller incisions, which means that your recovery time will be shorter.
While some injuries will make it impossible to receive minimally invasive surgery, you’ll definitely want to ask this question in case the surgery can be done on your hand.
Focus on the Specialists
When considering hand surgeons, remember to focus on the specialists. Even though there might be some doctors who offer a variety of surgeries, we recommend you be treated by someone whose specialty is hand surgery. They’re the best fit for your injury and will have more experience in hand surgeries than in general surgeries.
There’s an exception to this rule. If your hand injury is related to another health problem—cancer, for example—then we recommend you go to a doctor who deals with this larger health issue. If they believe a specialist is needed, they’ll let you know.
If you need emergency surgery, then you may not have time to do all this research. In that case, we recommend you ensure that the surgeons you contact have all the credentials we’ve mentioned and extensive experience in hand surgery.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you shouldn’t hold off going to a doctor, and instead go to the emergency room, if you experience any of the following:
- A multiple digit injury
- Need for amputation
Additionally, if the patient who needs the surgery is younger (your child, for example), then getting emergency care can make a huge difference since in the case of amputation younger bodies are more likely to react positively to replantation.
Additional cases that require emergency treatment are infections, complex wounds, and open fractures. If you aren’t sure, call emergency services and ask them for their opinion. If you still aren’t sure if it’s an emergency or not, we recommend going to the emergency room or hand surgeon with 24/7 service—just in case it is an emergency.
While You Wait
If your hand injury or issue isn’t an emergency, then there are several things you can do while you wait for your hand surgery operation. By resting your hand, and applying ice and warm compresses to the injury, you can alleviate the pain while you wait.
You can also see a hand therapist about different exercises you can do to lessen the pain until you have surgery. Sometimes, using a splint can also alleviate pain, especially if it’s caused by putting your hand in a position you use often. If you aren’t sure what to do, contact the hand surgeon about how to prepare your hand best for surgery.
If the pain gets worse, then you might need to move up your hand surgery appointment or get emergency surgery.
So who is the Best surgeon in Texas?
While we established there is no Best Hand Surgeon in Texas, there may be the best hand surgeon in Texas for you. If you have not decided yet, it may be well worth taking a look at our hand surgery practice, Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, based out of Houston, Texas. We are one of the larger group of private practice Hand Surgeons in the Houston area, and have over 40+ years of combined hand surgical experience.
If you do not live near one of our 5 convenient hand care centers in the Houston, metro area, and would like a second opinion or initial consultation virtually, we are happy to set up that consultation and you can get to meet our dedicated team of hand care physicians.
Do You Need More Help?
Do you need more help finding the best hand surgeon in your area? Or maybe you have an injury, and you aren’t sure whether you need help from hand surgeon types or hand therapists. Whatever you might need, we’re to help.
At Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, we’re experts in everything related to hand health. We can help you understand your symptoms, what treatments you need, and offer you the right procedures. Be sure to contact us to learn more.