Comprised of nearly one quarter of the total bones in the body, the human hand is an amazing, highly complex tool. It is easy to take our hands for granted. But when injury or disease causes pain or affects function, finding a trusted expert is essential.
Emerson’s hand specialists from New England Hand Associates (NEHA) offer a full range of diagnostic and treatment services involving the hand and wrist. Their goal? Help patients get back to living life. Just ask Christopher Clinton.
Christopher, a university professor and avid soccer player, serves as a goalie on an adult soccer league in Groton. When the 49-year-old fell saving a ball and fractured his scaphoid, a small bone in the wrist, his ability to play soccer — and perform many other tasks — immediately changed.
“My wrist starting swelling and became discolored. I had limited mobility in my hand, which made even simple tasks more difficult,” recalls Christopher. “I knew I needed help.”
Christopher made an appointment with Louis Jurist, MD, an orthopedic hand surgeon with NEHA, where doctors Jurist, Michael Brunelli, MD, and Jeffrey Dietz, MD, have all been named a “Top Doc” by Boston Magazine for the past five years.
“Hand surgery is very specialized, and its outcomes can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life and ability to perform everyday activities,” explains Dr. Jurist. “At NEHA, we diagnose and treat hand issues of all kinds, including acute, sports-related, and work-related hand injuries — from simple to the most complex.”
Dr. Jurist performed outpatient surgery on Christopher, stabilizing his wrist by implanting a screw to hold the small bones in place. The surgery at Emerson was a success.
“In my work as a professor, I need to use technology frequently. Little things like typing or moving the mouse were difficult with my injury,” says Christopher. “I now have no problems with my hand and am excited for this soccer season.”
The field of hand surgery continues to evolve, and NEHA is at the forefront of surgical techniques. These specialists offer a host of advanced treatments — from complex arthritis and fracture surgery to tendon transfer, finger joint replacement, and more.
Christine Lourie, 61, of Westford, regained mobility in her hands thanks to advanced surgery at Emerson. Christine spent years doing computer work and in her free time, quilting, cross-stitching, and bowling — all of which took a toll on her hands.
“I had tingling, numbness, and weakness in my hands. I would also feel a zing that shot up my arm, and I could barely use my right thumb. It was so painful,” says Christine, who suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome as well as severe osteoarthritis in her right hand.
Christine underwent two carpal tunnel surgeries — one on each hand — with Dr. Jurist to release the compressed nerves.
“I used a mini-open surgical approach, which takes just 15 minutes and requires only one small incision,” explains Dr. Jurist. “Compared to previous techniques, with this advanced surgical technique patients have minimal post-operative pain, recover faster, and can use their hands right away since no splint is necessary.”
Christine then worked with Dr. Jurist to address her painful osteoarthritis. Due to years of wear and tear, the cartilage in her thumb deteriorated causing her bones to rub together without cushion. Dr. Jurist performed ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI) surgery at Emerson. The surgery involved removing a small bone at the base of the thumb and transferring a tendon in Christine's wrist and weaving it through the bones to stabilize and provide a cushion for the new joint.
“This complex surgery stabilizes the joint without the need for a cast after surgery, so patients can immediately start rehab and recover faster,” explains Dr. Jurist, who has performed nearly 1,000 LRTI surgeries.
“The procedure offers exceptional results. For most patients, it eliminates most, if not all pain.”
Christine credits her excellent outcomes to Dr. Jurist’s surgical expertise. But she also felt he genuinely cared about her as a patient, and Emerson was the right place to have surgery. Heather Lammey, 52, agrees.
This past winter, Heather slipped on the ice at her home in Acton and fractured her wrist. Because Heather’s bones were too much out of alignment to be held by a cast, Dr. Jurist surgically stabilized her wrist by inserting a metal plate. The plate successfully held her bones in place, allowing them to heal correctly. Following surgery at Emerson, she attended outpatient rehabilitation at Emerson’s Clough Family Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies, which helped her regain full mobility.
“I was very anxious, but Dr. Jurist put me at ease,” says Heather. Christopher adds, “When you walk into Dr. Jurist’s office, everyone is positive. It is truly an environment of wellness. The entire practice makes healing successful. I couldn’t be happier.”
NEW ENGLAND HAND ASSOCIATES
Our surgeons are board certified and fellowship trained in orthopedic surgeries of the hand. (Pictured above from left, Dr. Jurist, Dr. Brunelli and Dr. Dietz.)
- Louis M. Jurist, MD — Hand and wrist trauma, arthritis, nerve compression disorders
- Michael P. Brunelli, MD — Hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder
- Jeffrey F. Dietz, MD — Hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder
For information or to make an appointment with a surgeon at New England Hand Associates, visit nehand.com or call 508-872-7881.