Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I visit a hand surgeon?

A qualified hand surgeon is trained to diagnose and treat surgical and nonsurgical conditions of the hand, wrist and forearm. Hand surgeons have received additional specialized training in the treatment of hand conditions beyond their board specialty training.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

You should bring any records and x-rays, CTs, and MRIs pertaining to your problem, as well as your current list of medications, allergies and past medical history. You should also bring a government-issued photo ID and your insurance cards. It is also helpful to bring any splints that you may have used, so the doctor can make sure these are appropriate for your problem.

Will I have hand surgery on the day that I first see the doctor?

In most cases, the answer is NO. The hand surgeon must first see you in consultation and evaluate your problem and go over the various treatment options available for your particular problem. If the doctor determines that you have an urgent or emergent need for hand surgery, then you very well may have hand surgery that day. Most of the surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, but sometimes you may need to be admitted to the hospital. The doctor will explain what needs to be done in your particular case.

Why do I have to go to a hand therapist?

Not everyone that has a hand problem needs to see a hand therapist. However, hand therapy may be necessary to decrease pain and improve range of motion, desensitize and strengthen your hand, and teach you exercises to do at home to improve your condition. The hand therapist may even make a specialized splint for you, depending on the needs of your condition.

Hand therapists may be occupational or physical therapists who have had additional training and continuing education. Most hand therapists work very closely with hand surgeons so that as a team, we can return you to a productive lifestyle as efficiently as possible.

How do I safely remove a ring?

  1. Put Windex, liquid soap or some light oil on your finger and ring.
  2. Elevate your hand over your head for 5-10 minutes with ice around the ring and finger, in addition to lubricating the finger as above.
  3. You can wrap the finger from the fingertip to the ring snugly with Coban wrap and leave it in place for the 5-10 minutes that you are elevating and icing.
  4. Remove the Coban and attempt to slide the ring off with the lubricant of your choice.
  5. If this fails, you may need the ring to be cut with a ring cutter, which may be found in fire departments, emergency departments and many jewelry stores.