Hand Surgeon

Help patients regain full use of their hands through surgery.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
~ $215,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Hand Surgeons do?

Humans use their hands to eat, write, drive, dress, create music, and make obscene gestures. Accidents, illness, and congenital defects can render the hands useless, however, and some conditions can be incredibly painful as well. As a Hand Surgeon, you diagnose problems that affect the hand, and offer suggestions that can help ease the problem. While most patients assume that a Hand Surgeon will immediately recommend surgery, most Hand Surgeons do their best to avoid performing surgeries when other options are available.

Some patients have already endured x-ray examinations before they visit you, and they may bring elaborate notes from their Doctors explaining what caused the hand issue. Unfortunately, you can’t rely only on these notes to make a diagnosis. You must look at the hand yourself, and you perform a detailed examination to determine what’s wrong with it.

In this examination, you may ask the person to make a fist, flex fingers, point at a wall, or push against your hand. Often, these tests are painful for your patients, and you allow them to recover before you poke and prod some more. After this examination, you may ask them to go to Radiologists for more x-rays and imaging tests that you can study.

People with painful palms and fingers may benefit from medications paired with the work of Physical Therapists. You write up orders to direct that therapy, and you see the patient again, just to make sure the symptoms are abating. Some patients simply must have surgery in order to find relief, and you perform these surgeries in your hospital.

Should I be a Hand Surgeon?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Hand Surgeon

    Most Hand Surgeons have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%281%25%29||doctorate+%2899%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,99
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