The anatomy and physiology of the hand are incredibly complex, but we don’t often consider this intricacy nor do we appreciate all our hands help us do until they become impaired. But when that happens, Dr. Carol Meyer, an orthopaedic surgeon specially trained in the hand and upper extremity, is here to help.
“When such a vital part of your body isn’t functioning correctly and is bothering you on a frequent basis, first and foremost you want to know what is wrong,” said Dr. Meyer. “I find that just being able to put a name to their pain empowers my patients. Then they can make an informed decision about treatment.”
ABOUT MY PRACTICE
Who are your patients? What kinds of problems do they come to you with?
I see many patients with traumatic injuries; for example, someone who performs manual labor and has been injured on the job. I also see patients with chronic pain, such as those with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. I have a special interest in treating ligamentous injuries within the wrist.
What non-surgical techniques are available?
I always consider all non-surgical techniques first. For arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, I will try medications or steroid injections. Sometimes even just one or two rounds of steroid shots will solve the problem and save a patient from having to undergo surgery.
What is the most challenging part of the surgeries you perform?
Treating someone with a stiff finger or an older injury always presents a challenge. Maintaining the balance of complex anatomy while restoring function to the hand or finger is very rewarding.
What part of your job do you most enjoy?
It’s amazing to see patients who were really in pain or severely disabled come back and say they feel so much better. A person’s hands are such an important part of daily life that many people don’t realize just how critical they are until they have suffered an injury. Suddenly, even basic tasks can become a frustrating chore. Being able to move again has an immediate positive impact on their quality of life.
Have any recent medical inventions changed the way you practice?
I offer Xiaflex injections, a medication used in the treatment of Dupuytren’s disease. Dupuytren’s causes cords to form in the hand that can bend the fingers towards the palm. This causes functional problems for patients in their everyday activities when they can no longer fully straighten those fingers. Until recently, this disease was only able to be treated by large surgical incisions and a long recovery period. Now, we can use this medication, which is administered by a few small injections in the office to “break” the cord and straighten the fingers. Patients have been very pleased by the outcomes, especially those who were previously treated by surgery.
What drew you to your specialty?
A lot of it had to do with my parents. My father was an orthopaedic surgeon and my mother is an occupational therapist. In medical school, I kept an open mind, but in the end I found that orthopaedic surgery was the best fit for me. The hand in particular presented a fascinating challenge because of its incredibly intricate structure.
What do you like about working for Omega Hospital?
Everyone who works at Omega is extremely competent and caring, from the staff to the nurses and physicians. It makes for a great patient experience; they tell us it’s unlike any other hospital they’ve been to.
What do you do in your free time?
My husband and I have two girls, ages two and four. We like to get out and enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer.
The Hand Center
4228 Houma Blvd., Suite 600B
Metairie, LA 70006
Tulane Health Sciences Center
Hand & Upper Extremity
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Hand & Upper Extremity
I educate my patients about their conditions so that they have the proper knowledge to guide them in their decisions.