Office-based hand surgery: Cheaper, pain-free way to fix carpal tunnel

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Hands and wrists are subject to a variety of problems that result in pain, weakness or numbness. Thanks to a new technique, three doctors in Grand Rapids are fixing those problems quicker -- and cheaper -- than ever before.

It's called office-based hand surgery, and during the procedure, the patient is wide awake.

Normally, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand, you would go to a hospital, undergo a number of tests, get put under anesthesia, and pay thousands of dollars for treatment.

Office-based hand surgery is not only cheaper, it's safer and saves time.

Ryan Ganzevoort underwent hand surgery two weeks ago at Spectrum Health Medical Group. When he found the procedure took less than 10 minutes in the doctor's office, it was a no-brainer, he says.

Dr. Peter Jebson

Dr. Peter Jebson

The hand surgery is done without the use of tourniquets or sedation, said Dr. Peter Jebson, the chief of orthopedics surgery at Spectrum Health Medical Group. Some patients actually watch as Dr. Jebson cuts open their hand.

"Using this technique, we’ve had patients, when we release their ligament, they’ll actually say to us, 'Wow, that feels so much better; the pressure is gone in my hand,'" Dr. Jebson said.

"It felt a lot like constant tugging, a little bit of pressure," Ganzevoort said.

Office-based hand surgery is commonly performed on people with carpal tunnel, trigger finger or tendonitis.

"We used to do those in the surgery centers in the hospitals," Dr. Jebson said. "We have to sedate the patient, they have to undergo preoperative testing, blood work, EKG, test, x-ray, which of course increases the cost of care."

The surgery technique is saving patients up to $2,800, which adds up: Three hand surgeons can save health care systems and patients close to $900,000 a year. Plus, it's less risky and saves time.

Doctors first performed these surgeries two years ago and have operated on roughly 600 patients since.

Now, two weeks post surgery, Genzevoort is feeling great.

This procedure can be performed on patients on chronic oxygen and patients with diabetes. There's no need for antibiotics nor any change in current medication.

Anyone looking for more information can call Spectrum Health at 616-267-8860 and ask for a referral to Dr. Jebson.

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