With a team of four hand surgeons, Cooper’s Hand and Nerve Surgery Center—a collaboration between the Division of Plastic Surgery and the Cooper Bone & Joint Institute—offers a level of specialized upper extremity surgical expertise that’s rare in the South Jersey region.
“Through this integrated program, we have plastic and orthopaedic surgeons working together to reconstruct upper extremity deformities, whether they’re traumatic or congenital,” says board-certified orthopaedic surgeon David A. Fuller, MD, Director, Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery. “I was the only certified hand surgeon for some time, but we’ve added three more surgeons—including people with specialty expertise in congenital and pediatric disorders—expanding our capacity to meet the growing need in our community.”
“We are willing and able to tackle the complex cases,” says Nicole J. Jarrett, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is fellowship-trained in hand surgery. “Through Cooper’s Trauma program, we see a lot of hand injuries, and we want to help take care of these difficult problems that are often underserved in this region.”
These difficult problems include comminuted or compound fractures, brachial plexus injuries, and conditions that require tendon repair, replantation of fingers and hands, nerve transfer, repair or release, revascularized bone grafting, and skin grafts and flaps.
She cites a recent case in which a patient’s wrist bone hadn’t healed despite two previous surgeries performed elsewhere. “We took a piece of bone from the patient’s leg, along with the blood supply, and reconnected it in the wrist under the surgical microscope,” Dr. Jarrett relates. “We did this as a team—orthopaedics and plastic surgery—so it was tremendously efficient. And the outcome was successful.
“With our expanded team, we’re not only better able to serve patients for this type of challenging condition, but also for everything else,” she adds, referring to more routine procedures such as joint replacement and carpal tunnel release.
Cooper’s Hand and Nerve Surgery Center has also added a certified hand therapist to its team.
“Therapy and rehabilitation are important to patient outcomes, whether with or without surgery,” Dr. Fuller says. “We’re committed to providing the full spectrum of services our community needs, delivered in a way that’s tailored to the individual patient.”
It’s this level of commitment that Drs. Fuller and Jarrett believe distinguishes Cooper’s Hand and Nerve Surgery Center.
“We not only want to increase the community’s access to care but also maintain the quality of care for an urban population, and do it in a socially and culturally responsible manner,” Dr. Fuller says. “I think the volume we can now handle and our willingness to provide this level of care really do set us apart.
“A lot of the care we provide starts with Cooper’s Trauma unit, but we’re available to take referrals from the entire tri-state area,” he adds.
“Historically, there simply weren’t enough hand surgeons, so we didn’t have the staffing to see patients in a timely manner,” Dr. Jarrett says. “Now, patients with acute injuries can be seen in an efficient manner and get an operation if and when they need it. Patient access is much improved.
“There’s really no case that we’ll refuse,” she adds. “If someone needs our help, we’re able and willing to help. Patients—both adults and children—don’t have to go across the river for expert hand surgery.”
For questions about the Cooper Hand Center or to refer a patient, contact the Cooper Hand Program Navigator at 856.968.7262.