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On-Topic Transcript: Upper Extremity Surgery

UPMC Content 2

Robert J. Goitz, MD
Chief, Division of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery


Well here at the UPMC Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Division we see all problems of the hand and upper extremity from the finger tips to the shoulders. This would include problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve injuries, tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, congenital injuries, patients born without hands to traumatic injuries limb loss, the weekend warrior to the elite athlete, we treat patients ages of birth to senior citizens.

Personalized Treatment Plan

Well patients will come in to our office and a physician will perform a history, physical examination and order appropriate tests which may include x-rays, MRI or electric diagnostic studies. We will formulate a diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan. We’ll educate the patient on their problem so that they can take an active role in their treatment. We know that when patients call for an evaluation, they’re often in pain, they may have difficulty sleeping, performing their job or their sport. And so our goal is to get them in to be seen within days of their call.

Multidisciplinary Team

Many problems of the hand and upper extremity do not require surgery. And therefore we employ a multidisciplinary team approach to providing optimal treatment for these patients. These may include therapists such as hand therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, neurologists, rehab specialists. We all come together to help provide a team approach to providing optimal care for their problem, to get them back to their job, sport or even sleeping.

Advanced Research

We are actively engaged in research of the hand and upper extremity here at UPMC. Some of our areas of focus include carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve regeneration in order to help optimize treatment management for patients with nerve injuries. We also actively engage in biomechanics research of wrist to optimize outcomes for patients with traumatic wrist injuries for instance. In addition, we performed a number of hand transplants. In fact, we’re the second center in the United States to perform a hand transplant and the first center to perform an arm transplant. We performed the most hand and arm transplants in the United States. We continue to follow these patients in order to guide the future of hand transplantation.

Patients who call with a problem related to a hand and upper extremity can be assured that they’ll be evaluated and treated by specialists who are, who have extensive experience, education and training in evaluating and treating the problems of the hand and upper extremity. Our goal is to provide a high level of care, optimal treatment and ultimate outcomes to get them back to their job or sport.