Hand, Elbow and Shoulder Surgery

What is hand/upper extremity surgery?

Surgery is recommended for many conditions and injuries of the hand, wrist or arm. The most common conditions that require an operation include lacerations, fractures, arthritic joints and congenital hand defects. Most surgeries are performed as an outpatient.

Our surgeons and physical and occupational therapists coordinate treatment plans to provide adult and pediatric patients with the best chance at full recovery.

What should I expect before surgery?

  • Health questionnaire to review current medications, allergies, and past surgeries that may impact treatment
  • Diagnostic tests such as:
    • X-rays
    • CT scan
    • Electromyography (EMG) test
    • Ultrasound

Pre-Surgical Evaluation

After your initial consultation and to prepare you for the anesthesia and surgical process, a pre-operative anesthesia evaluation will be scheduled and conducted by phone or in-person. You can use this appointment to discuss any concerns you may have with your surgeon.

What should I expect during surgery?

Before your procedure, our surgeons and anesthesiologists will review your case and answer any additional questions you may have before the procedure. You may receive a mild sedative prior to anesthesia to help ease any anxiety.

Types of Upper Extremity Surgery

The type of procedure performed will depend on the location and severity of the injury or break. Common surgical procedures include:

  • Fixation of the broken bone with plates, pins or screws
  • Suture repair of skin, muscle and tendon lacerations
  • Microscopic surgery for damaged nerves and arteries
  • Surgery on joints for arthritis

What should I expect after surgery?

Patients are taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), or recovery room, post-surgery. A PACU nurse will review the surgeon's post-operative instructions for medication and rest and send you home with a printed copy.

A two-week follow-up appointment will be scheduled for you prior to discharge, and you'll receive a check-in call about your progress within one day after your procedure. Your follow-up appointment may involve x-rays or stitch removal.

How fast will I recover after surgery?

For most hand procedures, recovery can vary between a week or two to several months. If you receive injections as part of your treatment plan, it can take up to a week for pain relief.

How can I get a second opinion from a MetroHealth hand surgeon?

If you currently see a primary care physician at MetroHealth, they can enter a referral directly into our system. A referring physician outside of MetroHealth can call the Hand and Upper Extremity Center at 216-778-4263 (HAND) and place a referral. Patients can also call this number themselves to schedule a consultation.

Boy with broken arm in blue cast
Post-Surgery Care Guide

Our guide provides helpful tips to help you maximize your recovery after surgery.

Download the Guide