What is Vascular Disease of the Hand?

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Although vascular diseases and disorders of the hand and upper-extremities are less common than vascular diseases and disorders of the lower extremities, they can be serious and have long-lasting health effects.

Our Hand Center is fully equipped with the latest technology and a team of board-certified hand surgeons to diagnose and treat vascular diseases and disorders of the hand for adult and pediatric patients.

Learn more about vascular disease of the hand from Rebound hand surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs is an orthopedic surgeon who sub-specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery. He treats disorders involving bones, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels of the entire upper extremity in addition to general orthopedics.

What is Vascular Disease of the Hand?

The body’s network of blood vessels is called the vascular system, and when that system’s ability to carry blood to and from the heart is affected, it is referred to as vascular disease.

“When a patient is diagnosed with vascular disease of the hand, that essentially means they are suffering from decreased blood circulation in their hands and fingers,” says Dr. Jacobs.

“There are two major arteries that bring blood to our hands and fingertips called the radial and ulnar arteries, and when those arteries become thick, blood is unable to travel effectively,” says Dr. Jacobs. “This blockage also prevents the blood from traveling back to our heart and lungs.”

What Causes Vascular Disease of the Hand?

“Vascular disease of the hand can develop because of a number of factors. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, kidney problems or a family history of vascular disease are typically at a higher risk,” says Dr. Jacobs.

Other factors that increase the risk of developing vascular disease include vascular malformations, age, smoking, obesity, extended amounts of time sitting or standing still, cold exposure, and even pregnancy.

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What Symptoms are Associated with Vascular Disease of the Hand?

Like with most disorders, symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition. Here are some common symptoms that could point to a vascular problem:

  • Pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the hand or fingertips
  • Swelling around vessels
  • Skin coloration changes
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Ulcers

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, our team of hand surgeons may do a series of diagnostic tests to determine whether or not you’re experiencing circulatory disturbances or vascular disease.

How is Vascular Disease of the Hand Detected?

There are several methods Rebound surgeons may use to diagnose vascular diseases or disorders. The most common methods our team uses are blood pressure readings, MRI and ultrasound.

How is Vascular Disease of the Hand Treated?

Vascular disease of the hand may be treated surgically or non-surgically. Rebound hand surgeons recommend treatment according to the cause and severity of the condition, in addition to the patient’s medical history.

Some non-surgical methods may include medication to increase blood circulation and an overall change in lifestyle habits (nutrition, activity, smoking, etc.). Surgical methods may involve stenting to create better blood flow, surgical removal of blockage from the affected arteries, or in some cases vascular bypass.

If you are experiencing the symptoms associated with vascular disease of the hand, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists online or by calling 1-800-REBOUND.

Rebound Resources:

Hand Surgery

Hand Therapy

Other Resources:

American Society for Surgery of the Hand – Vascular Disorders

American Society for Surgery of the Hand – What’s a Hand Surgeon: Introduction to Hand Surgery (video)

National Institutes of Health – Vascular Diseases