Q&A with Kimberly Mezera, M.D.
Hand and Upper Extremity Center of Dallas, North Dallas LIVING WELL Magazine
Dr. Kimberly Mezera is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the treatment of hand and upper extremity conditions including nerve compression syndromes, tendinitis, arthritis of the hand, wrist and elbow, fractures and trauma care—including microsurgical repair. She has additional expertise in the treatment of pediatric hand conditions, including congenital differences. She serves as the director of the Hand and Upper Extremity Center of Dallas—a practice dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art care to patients with hand and arm problems by providing them with access to innovative therapies and technology. Dr. Mezera received her medical degree from UT Southwestern Medical School. She did her orthopedic residency training at UT Southwestern and Parkland Memorial Hospital. She completed additional specialty fellowship training in the area of hand and upper extremity surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery and The New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center in New York City.
Q: What training does a hand and upper extremity surgeon have beyond medical school?
A: A qualified hand surgeon is typically an orthopedic surgeon who has additional specialty training in the diagnosis and treatment of all problems related to bone, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels in the hand and upper extremity. Many hand surgeons have expertise with problems of the elbow, arm and shoulder. Hand and upper extremity specialists treat the entire arm—not just the fingers.
Q: What conditions do hand surgeons treat?
A: Hand surgeons treat carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, wrist pain, sports injuries of the hand and wrist, fractures, trigger finger, and arthritis. Other problems may include nerve and tendon injuries and congenital issues. Not all problems treated by a hand surgeon need surgery. Nonsurgical treatments—splints, therapy, injection and medications can be helpful in improving symptoms. Surgery is reserved for cases in which other applicable treatments are not successful.
Q: What can be done for arthritis of the hand?
A: The goal of nonsurgical treatment is to preserve the patient’s own joints as long as possible with intervention designed to slow down the degenerative process. This may include joint-protection education for the patient to help them understand how to reduce stress on the joints in daily life. Specialized adaptive equipment, such as jar openers, key turners and gardening tools are specifically designed and readily available to help patients complete tasks without hurting their hands. Splints, therapy, paraffin wax baths, and injections also offer good options for pain control. Surgery may be considered when conservative treatments fail to provide ongoing relief. Procedures to clean, rebuild, and replace joints destroyed by arthritis can be very helpful in enabling patients to return to the activities they enjoy.
Q: What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
A: This is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. The cause is generally unknown, but pressure on the nerve can happen several ways, including swelling and irritation of the tendons in the carpal tunnel, overuse, trauma and other metabolic conditions. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in the fingers, hand and, occasionally, the arm. It is very common for symptoms to be worse at night, often interrupting sleep. Symptoms may often be relieved without surgery, and initial treatment options include splints, activity modification, workstation assessment and modification, therapy and injections.
Q: What could a mass on my hand mean?
A: Most bumps on the hand and wrist are benign. Ganglion cysts are the most common and often resemble a balloon on a stalk that is filled with a clear, gel-like fluid. They may form in the presence of joint irritation or because of mechanical changes in a tendon or joint. The top of the wrist is the most frequent location, but they can occur on the palm side of the wrist, at the base of the finger, and on the top of the joint of the finger closest to the fingernail. They may or may not be painful and can be observed in some cases. If the cyst grows or becomes painful, limiting activity, treatments may include splinting and aspiration. Surgical alternatives are reserved for more severe cases.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY DR. MEZERA:
- Trigger Finger
- Carpal Tunnel
- Hand, Wrist and Forearm Fractures
- Tendon and Nerve Lacerations
- DeQuervain’s Disease
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Strains and Sprains
- Fingernail Injuries and Infections
- Ganglions and Cysts