By: 7 May 2014
Hand surgery and the changes in standards of care

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Although hand surgery is a smaller field within the orthopaedic community and therefore gets less visibility, it still represents an important specialty since the hand is often subject to traumatic injury, as well as other common ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Hand surgery is an orthopaedic field that requires a higher level of surgical skill where additional fellowship training for surgeons is critical. Common types of traumatic hand injury include fractures in the fingers, crush injuries, flexor tendon injuries, ligament tears, sporting injuries in the hands, and wrist fractures.

There are many factors that influence the type of care a patient gets, including age, hand dominance, and the severity of injury in both the soft tissue and bone. When left untreated, the outcomes can be debilitating, especially for young patients.

Over the past fifty to sixty years, technology has dramatically improved the standards of care for hand surgery with far better wrist replacement implants and many finger and thumb implant product portfolios within growing orthopaedic companies. With the development of new materials such as pyrocarbon and biocomposites used in implants, the availability of new products in extremity orthopaedics that are focused on better biological fixation, and with the increased competition among orthopaedic manufacturers to drive market growth, current standards of care and patient outcomes are expected to continue improving.

Another major driver for growth and improvement in the standards of care in hand surgery is the focus orthopaedic device manufacturers are placing in upper extremity reconstruction; this focus is primarily due to the increase in fracture incidence and injuries occurring in the upper extremity. With this, the scope of the hand surgery specialist has also expanded to include many procedures, not only of the hand, but of the entire arm. Many surgeons who are hand surgery trained are also trained to perform shoulder surgery. In turn, this has spurned growth in hand and upper extremity products segments within orthopaedic company product portfolios.

Within the hand surgery segment, common products are implants for wrist replacement and finger replacement. And while this sector still has lower procedure numbers overall, it represents a growing segment as there is steady international adoption. As procedure volumes continue to rise globally and technology improves, it will improve the standards of care.

Related reports
GlobalData (2013). MediPoint: Total Wrist Reconstruction –
Global Analysis and Market Forecasts, March, 2013, GDME0171MAR
GlobalData (2013). MediPoint: Total Shoulder Replacement –
Global Analysis and Market Forecasts, June, 2013, GDME0177MAR