Choosing a Hand Surgeon

Someone who calls themselves a “Hand Surgeon” should specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the fingers, hands, wrists and forearm. They will have been trained initially in orthopaedic or plastic surgery and will then have undertaken additional training focusing on the hand wrist and forearm.

Before consulting someone about a hand or wrist or forearm problem there are some questions you should consider.

Is your surgeon fully trained in hand surgery?
David Warwick trained in Bristol, Oxford, and Sydney in specialised hand surgery training posts

Does your surgeon have a post-graduate subspecialty qualification to validate the term “Hand Surgeon” such as the European Diploma of Hand Surgery?
David Warwick is one of a minority of surgeons to be qualified with the European Diploma of Hand Surgery

How many years of experience does your Hand Surgeon have?
It takes very many years of practice to gain and maintain the fine technical skills needed for meticulous surgery on your hand. It takes very many years of experience to gain the insight into which techniques work and which are experimental. David Warwick has been a Consultant for over 21 years.

Does your surgeon spend all of his or her practice treating disorders of the fingers, hand and forearms?
David Warwick does, without distraction from other orthopaedic regions

Is your surgeon a full member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (
David Warwick is and has held several roles in hand surgery training and professional practice in the UK

Will your surgeon always consider non-operative measures first?
Many disorders can be improved without resorting to surgery so your surgeon should always discuss these first.

Does your surgeon collect and publish his/her outcomes?
This is one of the best ways of ensuring your surgeon is experienced in the procedures he or she performs and is willing to reflect and review their own practice. Ask for the results of patient satisfaction studies, complication rates and outcomes for various procedures.

Does your surgeon have a multidisciplinary team of specialised Therapists to support their practice?
A Hand Surgeon cannot work in isolation. Many disorders need Hand Therapy rather than surgery; following surgery the best outcomes are assured by the supervision of a dedicated, qualified hand Therapist

Does your surgeon reflect on their speciality?
Writing articles, running research studies and lecturing at meetings reflect a process of continuing education and reflection as well as demonstrating respect from peers and professional colleagues.