Revascularization of the Hand
In most cases, your hands are seen and not heard. Each day you use your hands to perform numerous tasks, large and small. When they are healthy and functioning, you often take them for granted. However, should you experience pain or any other type of potentially debilitating problem, your life could prove far more challenging.
Your hands are made up of several components, such as bones, muscles, and soft tissues. That said, the organs contain important internal structures known as blood vessels, such as arteries and veins. These channel-like tubes are responsible for carrying blood to and from the heart and nourishing the components that enable your hands to move and execute actions, like, grasping, ripping, and lifting items.
Occasionally, blood vessels might experience injury or damage. If such conditions are serious enough, proper circulation is disrupted, and your hands do not receive adequate blood supply. This is a serious health issue requiring specialized treatment. Fortunately, if these circumstances ever apply to you, a procedure known as hand revascularization might prove beneficial.
During hand revascularization, a skilled and experienced hand surgeon repairs damaged or injured blood vessels. The goal of the surgery is to fix damaged tissue and restore blood flow to as normal a level as possible.
CAUSES OF BLOOD VESSEL DAMAGE
A variety of factors can cause blood vessel damage. Injured hand blood vessels are often the result of a traumatic event, such as an automobile accident or a fall. These occurrences can result in serious emergencies, including torn blood vessels that need immediate repair. Significant damage to surrounding structures, like, bones, muscles, and soft tissues may ultimately impact nearby blood vessels.
Certain diseases also often lead to blood vessel damage. Issues, such as infections or immune system disorders, produce a condition known as inflammation. This problem typically causes the blood-carrying tubes to swell. Should you experience significant swelling, vessel walls can sustain damage. Moreover, illnesses like cancer can eat away at blood vessels as they advance.
Another vessel-damaging issue is high blood pressure. This condition places significant stress on blood-transporting channels and over time can lead to potentially serious damage.
Another problem common to blood vessels is obstruction. Obstruction, known also as blockage, occurs when some type of object or substance accumulates in large enough quantities to prevent normal blood flow.
Typically, blockages in blood vessels are caused by the buildup of a substance known as plaque. Plaque is made up of cholesterol and other potentially harmful bodily by-products. It is hard and sticky and attaches to vessel walls. If left unchecked, a buildup of plaque can eventually result in partial or complete blood flow interruption.
In many cases, elevated levels of plaque are the result of lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet and lack of exercise. However, if you have a family member with a history of high cholesterol, heart, or blood vessel diseases, you may also be at an increased risk of developing this condition.
SYMPTOMS OF DAMAGED BLOOD VESSELS
Symptoms of injured hand blood vessels vary depending upon the specific underlying problem and that condition’s severity. Common indications often include pain, movement difficulties, skin discoloration, in addition to tingling and numbness in the fingers. In the presence of an underlying illness, you might experience events, such as:
- Skin rashes.
- A general feeling of being unwell.
In cases of significant blockages, you might experience issues like coldness in the hands or fingers because adequate blood supply is not reaching the area.
Your Florida Orthopaedic Institute physician will first perform a thorough physical evaluation where they will likely perform tasks such as:
- Measuring your vital statistics.
- Asking about your personal and family’s medical history.
- Examining your hand.
- Inquiring about your lifestyle or if you had been in a traumatic event.
If your doctor suspects blood vessel problems are caused by a disease, you might need blood tests or other diagnostic tools designed to detect specific infections or diseases.
However, if you had experienced recent trauma or display severe symptoms, such as numbness, immobility, severe swelling, or coldness, your physician may order more sophisticated diagnostic procedures. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (also known as MRI scans) or Computerized Tomography (CT images) enable your doctor to capture images of your hand’s inner workings and see damaged blood vessels.
There are several different types of revascularization procedures. Your surgeon will consider which one is most appropriate for you after considering important factors, such as your age, general health, the specific underlying problem, and the damage’s severity.
SPECIFIC VASCULARIZATION PROCEDURES
Bypass Surgery. During this procedure, your hand surgeon uses the portion of an existing blood vessel or creates an artificial structure called a graft to redirect blood flow away from the blocked channel.
Angioplasty. Your surgeon inflates a tiny balloon inside the blocked vessel to clear the obstruction and restore a normal degree of blood flow. In certain circumstances, your surgeon might additionally insert a stent, which is a metal object designed to ensure the vessel in question remains open and clear.
Atherectomy. Using a tiny device called a catheter fitted with a rotating blade or a laser, surgeons enter the blocked vessel to clear and remove obstructing materials.
If you suffered hand trauma, have been diagnosed with a potentially threatening blood vessel illness, or show signs of vascular damage, we strongly suggest you contact our team of hand specialists. Talk to your Florida Orthopaedic Institute physician today to learn more about revascularization of the hand.