Hand Stiffness | Norman Weinzweig | Chicago Hand Surgeon

A significant portion of Norman Weinzweig’s hand surgery practice, The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation, is specifically dedicated to the care of hand stiffness. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, often treats patients presenting with stiff and functionless digits and developing or fixed developed contractures as a result of devastating work injuries.

When healthy, the hand and fingers work effortlessly to perform various activities in everyday life. However, when hand stiffness sets in due to scarring of the tendons, joints and soft tissues, function becomes limited. The activities we take for granted can no longer be performed or performed without extreme difficulty.

Hand stiffness and contractures may result from improper or prolonged splintage, burns, crush or avulsion injuries and following replantation. Often, multiple structures are involved including the soft tissues, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. Other patients experience hand stiffness after they are injured while operating machinery, power tools or agricultural machines. These patients have usually had their initial surgery performed elsewhere and have a poor functional outcome.

A careful examination by a hand surgeon must be performed to determine the nature of the stiffness and contractures including the range of motion, the difference between active and passive motion, extent of flexion and extension contractures and their impact upon function.

Conservative management includes stretching exercises for the tendons, joints and muscles, use of the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine, various static and dynamic splints or serial casting under the care of an experienced hand therapist. When conservative management is unsuccessful due to the severity of the scarring, hand stiffness or contracture, surgery is warranted.

-About Norman Weinzweig-

Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, and The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation is one of the major referral centers in the Midwest for care of hand stiffness due to mutilating injuries, replantations, complex fractures and burns. The occupational therapists at the Institute are extremely well trained in the management of these debilitating problems. They work with patients almost immediately postoperatively to obtain the optimal functional result.


Replantation | Norman Weinzweig | Chicago Hand Surgeon

Replantation is the surgical reattachment of a finger, hand or arm that has been completely severed from a person’s body. This involves bones, tendons, nerves, arteries and veins. The goal of this surgery is to give the patient back as much use of the injured area as possible. This procedure is recommended if the replanted part is expected to function without pain and if the amputated part is not too badly damaged. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, is one of the most experienced hand microsurgeons in the country having replanted or revascularized hundreds of amputated thumbs, fingers, hands or arms over the past 25 years.

In order for replantation to be successful, blood flow must be re-established through the arteries and veins in order for the amputated part to survive. Even if the amputated part survives, it doesn’t matter unless useful function is restored. Restoration of function depends upon the severity of injury as well as the combined efforts of the hand surgeon, therapist and patient. In the case of an unsuccessful replantation, completion amputation with or without a prosthesis may be an option. A prosthesis can look almost identical to the amputated part, provide excellent function and, often, both.

There are a number of steps to performing a replantation. These must be performed in an orderly and precise fashion. First, meticulous debridement of non-viable tissue must be done. The bones are then rejoined with either pins or plate and screws, occasionally with shortening of the bone ends. Next, the tendons and muscles are repaired. Lastly, under the microscope, the nerves, arteries and veins are repaired. Occasionally, vein grafts are needed to bridge any gap in anastomosis of the arteries and veins.

Patients have a very important role in the recovery process of replantation. The best efforts and intentions of the patient and occupational therapist can be thwarted by poor compliance on the part of the patient. Generally, patients should keep the replanted part above heart level to increase circulation and avoid smoking. Physical therapy and temporary bracing are also extremely important. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, will walk each patient through the recovery process.

– About Norman Weinzweig –

Norman Weinzweig, Founder of The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery & Rehabilitation, has extensive clinical experience in dealing with the most complex hand injuries including replantation of thumbs, fingers, hands and arms with excellent functional outcomes. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, is a powerful advocate for patient care, education and research. He is dedicated to utilizing state-of-the-art technology and a multidisciplinary approach to challenging hand conditions to achieve clinical excellence.

Hand Injuries | Norman Weinzweig | Chicago Hand Surgeon

Chicago Hand Surgeon, Norman Weinzweig, recently launched an updated version of his hand education website CHICAGOINSTITUTEFORHANDSURGERY.COM. This website has been redesigned to help patients gain a better understanding of treatment techniques for mutilated hand injuries, stiff digits, burn injuries, work related injuries, secondary reconstructions and other complex hand injuries. Norman Weinzweig also has a personal website NORMANWEINZWEIG.COM that discusses common and complex hand injuries. Both websites were created as a resource for patients to learn more about the causes and treatments of hand conditions so they can advocate for their own best care.

The hand consists of numerous complex structures such as soft tissue, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. These structures work in unison to create proper hand function and flexibility. Due to the complexity of the structures, acute or chronic hand injuries can occur. Through the websites, patients and medical professionals can increase their knowledge of the hand to understand what can go wrong and what the treatment options are.

Dedicated to education and research, Norman Weinzweig’s websites provide patients with insight and practical knowledge on common hand conditions such as:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • deQuervain’s Syndrome
  • Stiff digits
  • Burn Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Mutilated Hands
  • Trigger Finger
  • Trauma Injuries
  • Hand and Wrist Tumors
  • Numbness
  • Fractures in Children

Not all hand injuries require surgery. Many problems can be treated non-surgically with medication, occupational therapy or casts. When non-surgical treatment does not alleviate pain, or immediate surgery is required, it is important that patients are treated by a highly qualified and experienced hand surgeon to ensure optimal results.

Acute and chronic hand injuries can be extremely debilitating and difficult to treat. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, is dedicated to providing excellent care to all patients suffering from simple and complex hand injuries.

– About Norman Weinzweig –

Director of The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation, Norman Weinzweig is one of the most experienced hand microsurgeons in the country. With over 25 years of excellent functional outcomes, he specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery of complex hand injuries including replantation of digits, mutilated hand reconstruction and secondary reconstruction. Chicago Hand Surgeon, Norman Weinzweig, emphasizes the integration of superb surgical skills and keen clinical acumen based on more than 25 years of experience in the field with the highest quality individualized patient care and compassion to do what is best for the patient.

Work Related Hand Injuries | Norman Weinzweig | Chicago Hand Surgeon

Work injuries to the hand, fingers or arm are extremely common and can range from a simple injury such as a strain to a more complex injury such as an amputation. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, is one of the leading medical providers for hand services among City of Chicago workers. These workers include policemen and firefighters, industrial and agricultural workers, airport personnel, construction workers, steel workers, machinists, chefs, butchers and all other types of workers. Norman Weinzweig is widely recognized by his medical peers and by his patients for a consistent track record over the past 25 years for restoring work related hand injuries to full function.

At The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery & Rehabilitation, founded by Norman Weinzweig, we emphasize a comprehensive team approach to the treatment of all work related hand injuries and finger injuries. Acute trauma such as fingertip injuries, flexor and extensor tendon lacerations, fractures of the bones, nerve problems as well as more complex industrial, agricultural and power tool accidents are treated at the time of injury or usually within 24 hours, depending on the nature of the injury. Emergency surgery is provided for the most severe work related hand injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren’s Disease, De Quervain’s Syndrome, burn wounds, scarring, contractures, tendonitis, trigger finger and other repeated stress injuries are evaluated and treated non-surgically or surgically.

Comprehensive treatment for patients is supported by occupational therapy services provided at our offices by experienced occupational therapists, including Certified Hand Therapists (CHT’s). Patients are scheduled for office appointments with Norman Weinzweig, MD or an occupational therapist. Independent Medical Evaluations (IME’s) or Second Opinions are conveniently scheduled, usually within 48-72 hours. Referrals are made, as needed, for Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE’s) or Work Conditioning Programs. Employer work status forms are completed at the office visit and faxed to the employer and nurse case manager that same day.

Norman Weinzweig and The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation approach all work related hand injuries with care and a prompt response. Rapid and proper hand injury management by a Chicago Hand Surgeon allows workers to return to work and daily life as soon as possible.

– About Norman Weinzweig –

Dr. Norman Weinzweig is an experienced Chicago Hand Surgeon who founded The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery & Rehabilitation, a major state-of-the-art referral center for patients from Chicago, Illinois and surrounding areas. His cases range from simple hand conditions treated non-operatively to very complex multi-staged surgeries, such as replantation of amputated fingers and hands that require microsurgical expertise. He is recognized as an accomplished hand specialist and is frequently consulted by his peers for his clinical experience and expertise in the acute and chronic care of severely traumatized work related hand injuries.

Norman Weinzweig | The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation | Chicago Hand Surgeon

Norman Weinzweig, Founder of The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation, is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery from the American Board of Plastic Surgery since 1990 and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1993. He is also Board Certified in Hand Surgery having attained the Certificate of Added Qualifications in Hand Surgery in 1992 and recertified in 2002 and 2012.

A distinguished plastic surgeon and hand surgeon, Norman Weinzweig has an esteemed career in academic and clinical practice at several major university centers for more than 25 years, the last 22 years in Chicago. Following 3 years on the faculty staff in the Department of Plastic Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he was intimately involved in the acute and chronic care of burn injuries at Detroit Medical Center, Norman Weinzweig served on the clinical and academic faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Hospital until 2004 and 2007, respectively, with dual appointments in the Divisions of Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery. In 2000, he was appointed Professor of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

In 2003, NormanWeinzweig ventured into private practice exclusively devoted to the management of hand conditions, from the simple to the most severe ones. Currently, he is on staff at many hospitals throughout Chicago including Rush University Medical Center, Loyola University Health Center with an appointment as Lecturer in Plastic Surgery, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, Advocate Christ Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital, Northshore University Health Systems, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Presence Resurrection Hospital among others.

Norman Weinzweig with The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation is a member of numerous prestigious societies including the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, American Association for Hand Surgery, World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, American Society for Peripheral Nerve, American College of Surgeons, and Plastic Surgery Research Council, among many others.

Mutilated Hand Injuries | Norman Weinzweig | Chicago Hand Surgeon

Mutilating injuries of the hand pose a challenge for both the patient and a Chicago hand surgeon such as Norman Weinzweig. In many cases, these are devastating injuries resulting from industrial, agricultural or power tool accidents. Often, these accidents present as incomplete or complete amputations of the thumb, fingers, hand or arm. These injuries involve multiple structures including bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, arteries, veins, nerves and soft tissues. The key concerns in mutilated hand injury patients are salvageability of the mutilated hand followed by repair, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Mutilated hand injuries are a life-changing event requiring a comprehensive team approach providing highly individualized treatment and requiring multiple staged surgical procedures and a prolonged rehabilitation process. This will entail a multidisciplinary team approach including the hand surgeon, occupational therapist, employer, nurse case manager, psychologist and patient.

Following a thorough physical examination from a Chicago hand surgeon, including the ABC’s of establishing an adequate Airway, Breathing and Circulation, detailed documentation and systematic classification of the traumatic mutilated hand injury is performed.

From the time the patient enters the Emergency Department, it is crucial that the patient be treated by an experienced hand surgeon familiar in dealing with mutilated hand injuries. Dr. Norman Weinzweig is one of the most respected and talented hand surgeons having tremendous experience at several major Level I Trauma Centers in dealing with these patients over the past 25 years.

– About Norman Weinzweig –

Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, is Double Board Certified in Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery. As the Founder of the Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation in Chicago, Illinois, Norman Weinzweig specializes in the treatment of fingertip injuries, hand injuries, multiple digit replantations and mutilated hand injuries. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 38 book chapters, 87 scientific abstracts, 5 educational videotapes, and over 250 regional, national and international presentations. He also co-edited the 650-page textbook THE MUTILATED HAND that has a comprehensive focus solely on the acute management and post-traumatic reconstruction of devastating hand injuries.