Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Hand Lacerations and Trauma Reconstruction

It can be challenging to complete a range of daily activities without healthy, functioning hands. Due to their frequent use, they are vulnerable to injury and trauma, which can impact your quality of life and how you manage everyday tasks.

Reconstructive plastic surgery can help repair injured hands, including associated tendons, nerves, blood vessels and joints, resulting in increased function and mobility.

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery for Hand Lacerations

During hand surgery, surgeons at Reconstructive Plastic Surgery repair hand and wrist injuries such as:

  • Burns, lacerations and other skin injuries.
  • Fractured bones.
  • Damaged tendons, nerves, blood vessels and joints.

Your surgeon will take a history of your handedness, occupation, common activities and the history and timing of your injury before examining your hand to check for any functional impact of the wound. During surgery, your wound will be thoroughly examined and the important nearby structures will be visualised to ensure that they have not been injured. Your surgeon will then develop a plan to reconstruct the injured structures, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves and arteries before closing the skin in an appropriate manner to add in timely healing and your recovery.

Types of Reconstruction for Complex Hand Injuries

There are four approaches used by our specialist plastic surgeons to restore hand function, they include:

Repair – Identifying and repairing injured structures to restore hand function. When primary repair is not possible, other techniques become necessary if and when you are appropriately prepared.

Grafting – Transferring skin, bone, nerves or other tissue from another part of your body to your injured hand.

Flap surgery – Moving the skin, along with any fat, blood vessels and muscle from a donor site to your injured hand.

Replantation or transplantation – Microsurgery to restore amputated hands or fingers or to transfer toes to the hand to restore lost digits (e.g. toe to thumb transfer).


Recovery and Rehabilitation

Your dressings should always be kept dry and clean. For bathing or showering, cover your dressing with a plastic bag to stop it getting wet. If it does get wet, consult your doctor immediately.


You can reduce pain and swelling by raising your hand/arm above heart level for the first three to five days, or until pain subsides. You may be given a sling to make it easier to elevate.

Continue to move all surrounding joints to prevent stiffness.


Always commence your pain medication as soon as you arrive home and always take it with food to minimise nausea. If you experience severe pain contact your surgeon or doctor immediately.

Hand Therapy

Your RPS team will refer you to a specialist Hand Therapist as needed to ensure that you get timely splinting, management of swelling and advice on hand exercises to maximise healing and return of function.

More information

What else you should know

What happens if I experience tingling and burning after surgery?

After local or regional anaesthetic you may experience numbness in your arm or hand for several hours or overnight. If numbness continues after 24 hours please contact the RPS team.

Once the numbness dissipates you may also experience a tingling or burning sensation. This will also disappear over time.


What are the risks of hand surgery?

Like all surgery, hand surgery has risks and potential complications.

Some risks may include:

  • blood clots
  • infection
  • delayed healing
  • loss of feeling or movement in hands or fingers.
How will RPS manage my post-operative care?

Your RPS surgeon will give you specific advice regarding your individual post-operative recovery. They will advise:

  • where you will go after your surgery
  • what medication you will be given or prescribed
  • what bandages and dressings you will need and when they’ll be removed
  • if you require stitches, when they’ll be removed
  • when you can get back to normal activity and exercise
  • when to book your follow-up care.

Dr. Michael Findlay

Our Melbourne specialist

The team at RPS Melbourne are committed to providing you with the best possible outcome.

The extensive specialist skills of our surgical team ensure that you are provided with surgical options designed to maximise form and function.

Dr Michael Findlay holds an impressive array of academic credentials, extensive professional experience and a personal commitment to patient satisfaction.