Stories about: Hand and Upper Extremity Program

Diagnosing and treating nerve injuries in children and adolescents

Dr. Andrea Bauer nerve injuries Notes blog
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

Nerve injuries in children and adolescents aren’t all that common, and may be difficult to diagnose. When these injuries do occur, the referral process can also present further complications.

“With peripheral nerve injuries, it’s common to think a patient needs a neurosurgeon or plastic surgeon,” says Andrea Bauer, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in the Hand & Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “But because of the legacy Dr. Peter Waters has built, the specialists in our Orthopedic Center actually have a great amount of experience with these injuries.”

Bauer’s experience treating a wide range of nerve injuries both surgically and non-surgically in pediatric populations has helped her understand the difficulties that often arise in both diagnosis and treatment. Here, she provides insight on what PCPs and pediatricians should be aware of when it comes to nerve injuries in children.

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Children with congenital hand differences exhibit better emotional health

congenital hand differences Notes blog lead image

Approximately one in every thousand children is born with a congenital upper limb difference. These conditions can include complete or partial absence of a limb, failure of fingers to separate, duplication of fingers, overgrowth and undergrowth as well as constriction ring syndrome. Along with the physical differences this presents as a child grows and develops, there can also be mental and emotional challenges.

A recent study led by Donald S. Bae, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Boston Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, evaluated the physical level of function as well as the mental and emotional health of almost 600 children with congenital upper limb differences. Ultimately, the study found that while children with congenital hand differences had decreased upper limb function, they have better peer relationships and positive emotional states compared to population norms.

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