Hands are one of the more useful parts of the body. They help make coffee, send emails, do laundry, answer the phone and put on clothes. When they are injured or develop chronic problems like arthritis, getting through daily tasks can become challenging.

Making sure hands receive quality medical care is the reason that USC Verdugo Hills Hospital (USC-VHH) has brought on an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in taking care of these very important body parts — the hands and wrists. Rachel Lefebvre, MD, assistant professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, recently joined the roster of orthopaedic surgeons practicing at USC-VHH.

Not every community hospital has orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in treating upper extremities, so patients often have to transfer to a larger hospital when they have more complex problems. “Hand injuries are surprisingly common,” Lefebvre said, “and there definitely seems to be a need for this type of expertise.”

Lefebvre provides comprehensive care, treating medical problems that range from common problems like carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist fractures to complex trauma reconstructions. She also is trained in advanced surgical techniques, including microvascular reconstruction, that restore feeling and function to injured nerves and arteries in the hands and arms.

Lefebvre said that while patients always were able to receive care for their hand and wrist injuries at USC-VHH, she is able to provide a broader range of services than general orthopaedic surgeons. “One thing we can do now is repair some tendons in a bedside procedure, which we weren’t able to do before,” she said.

Lefebvre also provides care to patients with chronic problems of the hands and wrists such as arthritis and trigger fingers. Having a hand specialist adds depth to the already robust list of orthopaedic specialties at USC-VHH, which includes doctors who specialize in joints, sports medicine, spinal problems and treating feet and ankles, to name a few.

“We collaborate quite a bit,” she said, adding that patients with one orthopaedic problem, such as compression in the spine, also may suffer from others, including in their hands. “There are times when it is important to have a team approach to give patients the best care.”

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call (818) 790-7100 or visit uscvhh.org/ortho.

— Hope Hamashige