Thumb and Hand Care

Hi, I’m Doctor Michael Sumko. I’m an orthopedic surgeon. I’m affiliated with Ortho Utah which is our orthopedic practice up in Brigham City Utah. We operate primarily out of the HCA facility,Brigham City Hospital. Most people now are working on the computer. They’re wearing out the joints in their hands with repetitive type of activities. First signs and symptoms come on usually when people are somewhere in their 40’s to 50’s, 60’s. And they begin to have this ache and pain that occurs at the very base of their joint. And that’s the first sign. And then they begin go get a little bit of a swelling, a deformity there, and that’s the second sign, the deformity occurs, followed by night pain, and then pain with any type of opposition.

When they begin to hold their pencil,or they begin to write on the board,they get this ache and pain that happens. So when we see em, we begin to splint em,we begin to put em on the medications,and then we start to inject them. The next step is to put steroid medicine in the base of the thumb, an anti inflammatory type of thing. And that usually lasts them for several months to years as we do it. And then there comes a point at which the entire joint is so worn that something else needs to be done.

And so a couple of guys went together and all they simply did is they took a piece of the tendon, this long tendon,the flexor carpi radialis, they took that tendon and the balled it up and made an anchovy out of it. And just like the anchovies, you open a can,you find a little can of anchovies, they made a substitute by taking that tendon and wrapping it in the space where the bone that’s worn out,then take it out, the little bone, the little square bone called the trapezium,take it out and put this little rolled up anchovy in, and it worked marvelously.

Another common problem that we see in most people is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel’s very, very common. And the old way used to be through a actual incision right here across here and get rid of the ligament. Now we do it through a scope. So we make a little tiny incision here,stick the scope in, find the ligament,and the scope at the end of it has a little blade that when we pull a button it comes up,and we pull back and it cuts the ligament, and wha la, we’re done. And down time is very minimal. Down time typically is I tell em no heavy lifting for about three weeks but you can start using it the day after surgery.

At Brigham City we have a very oriented,patient oriented, out patient facility. It’s really nice, up to date, new. And the nursing staff there is really geared towards people getting in and out quickly. We get our referrals primarily from North Ogden,upward through to Malad. And there’s a lot of families up there and people love that knowing, oh, your aunt works here,or your grandma used to work here, or something like that. So it’s very patient friendly, very satisfied group of people.