When your child has an orthopedic injury or condition of the hand, arm, wrist, elbow or shoulder, where you take them matters. The Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is part of our larger Orthopedics Program, which is the only nationally ranked pediatric program in Georgia and the top program in the Southeast.*
Our hand and upper extremity team cares for children from birth to age 21 with conditions that affect their hands, arms, wrists, elbows or shoulders. Some conditions are congenital (present at birth), while others, such as a burn or hand fracture, may happen after birth. But all can affect how your child’s hand or upper extremities function or look.
How to choose a pediatric hand and upper extremity surgeon
If your child or teen needs surgery, it is important he sees a hand and upper extremity surgeon who is pediatric trained. Our hand and upper extremity surgeons at Children’s are trained to recognize injuries to growth plates in hands, arms, wrists, elbows and shoulders in kids and teens. If a child’s growth plate is damaged, the bone may stop growing, which is a serious problem called growth arrest. This can permanently stop bone development and change how it functions, possibly making the bone grow uneven.
* U.S. News & World Report 2020-21
Our team specializes in diagnosing and treating pediatric hand and upper extremity conditions, including:
- Hand and upper extremity congenital differences, such arthrogryposis
- Neurological conditions that affect hand function, such as cerebral palsy, stroke and brachial plexus injury
- Overuse injuries, such as tendonitis
- Sports and activity-related injuries, including sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations
- Trauma from penetrating injuries that damage tendons, nerves and blood vessels
- Tumors and growths of the hands and upper extremities
- Burns to the hands and fingers
Other conditions we treat may include:
When it comes to caring for children with hand or upper extremity conditions, they deserve the best treatment options available. Our team of pediatric-trained specialists offers just that, but in order to do so, the team must first make sure it is diagnosing a patient properly.
Evaluations and diagnostic tests may include:
- Complete medical history and physical examination performed by a hand and upper extremity surgeon
- Imagining to look at the bones and soft tissue:
- Blood test
- Bone scan
- Nerve testing, including electromyogram and nerve conduction studies
Our pediatric hand specialists deliver individualized care plans that can include surgical and nonsurgical options. They work with other areas within Children’s to manage and treat hand and upper extremity injuries and conditions.
Management and treatment options include:
- Casting or bracing (orthotics)
- Hand therapy
- Interventional radiology
- Occupational therapy
- Orthotics and prosthetics
- Physical therapy
- Sports physical therapy
Intelligent hand prosthesis
We’re the only healthcare facility in Atlanta that offers an intelligent hand prosthesis for children with a full or partial limb loss. This technology is an active, electronic prosthesis that lets patients grasp and move objects with independently functioning fingers. This technology helps increase independence while also providing a more natural appearance than many conventional prostheses.
We also know that as children grow, the ability and appearance of their hands become more important to them. This technology is well-suited for teens through adulthood. Using specially designed computer software, patients can program grip patterns and select other hand features. We offer two types, one for full hand deficiency and a second for partial hand deficiency.
Our doctors and surgeons work closely with orthopedic and hand surgeons in the community to help ensure complete, coordinated care is delivered seamlessly at our hospitals. Our Hand and Upper Extremity Program is led by Allan E. Peljovich, MD, MPH, Medical Director.