10 Questions with Dr. Andrew Staiger, Hand Surgeon

 

Dr. Staiger—one of our Hand Center surgeons—has been with St. Cloud Orthopedics since 2000. He recently sat down to share how he interacts with the therapists and specialists at our clinic in order to help his patients get back to doing what they love. Watch his video below, and read through for some great patient advice.

1) Common symptoms or conditions that patients who need specialty hand, shoulder, and elbow care might be experiencing?

  • Numbness, tingling in the hand, disturbing sleep = Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Catching or locking of fingers = Trigger Finger
  • Joint pain in fingers, thumb, wrist, elbow or shoulder = Arthritis
  • Hand and upper extremity fractures (broken bones) and injuries including tendon/nerve lacerations

2) First thing you’d do for them when they come in?

  • Detailed history of their condition, including signs and symptoms.
  • Develop a personalized care strategy.

3) Surgery vs. non-operative care – how do you decide what’s best for the patient?

  • Despite being a surgeon, I always exhaust non-operative care options for every condition. There are many options available including exploring nutritional status, therapy, splinting and injections that can help delay and in many cases eliminate the need for surgical intervention.
  • These non-operative treatment options will be discussed as well as potential surgical solutions so the patient can make an informed decision as to the course of treatment they wish to pursue.
  • In the instance when a surgical procedure is the best alternative, the rationale will be explained in an understandable manner.

4) Who else within the clinic might your patients interact with?

  • The entire staff at SCO is geared to helping you address the problems you have. Our nursing staff and x-ray technologists, hand and physical therapists all work together under the direction of the orthopedic surgeon to identify and treat all hand and upper extremity orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Elizabeth Johnson, PA-C, is an integral part of this practice and has received specialized training to help facilitate optimal hand and upper extremity care, including initial evaluations when necessary.

5) What’s one specific advantage St. Cloud Orthopedics can offer patients?

  • Regional expert subspecialty care. In my case this focuses on the hand and upper extremity, but all areas from the cervical spine to the foot can be addressed by our orthopedic surgical subspecialists.
  • Education and training in the latest technological and surgical advances in hand and upper extremity.
  • Looking forward to a specific technological advance in repair of lacerated tendons which may very well allow return to use of the hand or finger in a very short period of time. This implant allows extremely strong repair of a cut tendon that can tolerate motion very soon after surgery: www.conextionsmed.com

6) Your favorite thing about working at St. Cloud Orthopedics?

  • Collaboration with my many colleagues to maximize the care of each patient in an efficient professional manner.
  • I enjoy treating the wide variety of pleasant, hard-working individuals in the greater St. Cloud and Central Minnesota communities, helping them to improve the quality of their lives by eliminating pain or helping with various ailments.

7) What measures do you take to ensure the most optimal recovery experience for patients?

  • We have developed detailed and individualized pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative strategies for hand and upper extremity surgical patients to maximize functional recovery and return to work/sport as well as to minimize pain and discomfort.

8) Total number of procedures you performed last year?

  • Around 2,000 surgeries in 2016 alone.

9) One of your favorite patient success stories?

  • There are so many instances where a patient’s quality of life has been improved; whether it is the many patients with severe thumb arthritis which causes daily pain and limits their ability to do what they love, who after specific surgical reconstruction, can once again resume life and activity pain free.
  • The patient who suffers every night with numbness and pain interrupting their sleep who after a limited surgical procedure can once again use their hand without difficulty, and sleep soundly.
  • The patient who falls and suffers a potentially life changing fracture of their wrist, who after surgery can return to limited use of the hand in only a few short days, and full use in only weeks.

10) Number one tip for keeping your joints and muscles strong and healthy?

  • Never lose respect for power machinery and tools, as well as knives and glass as a moment’s inattention can lead to devastating consequences.
  • During winter months in earnest, stay vigilant. Watch for ice and slippery patches. There is a good reason why we have developed the Minnesota shuffle (short, well-balanced steps over questionable snowy/icy ground) 🙂
  • Maintain your flexibility. Keep stretching every day. Maintain good nutrition, including vitamin supplements as needed, and keep active!

Click here to learn more about our Hand Center.