Ghazi Rayan, M.D., Oklahoma City Hand Surgeon

The hand is unmatched
in its complexity to any other organ in the body. It has sophisticated
function but also it embodies beauty and elegance. It is a tool of
communication that expresses our thoughts and our feelings. The hand navigates
our environment. We use our hands to embrace,
to protect, to feel, and even think. The hand is the eye for the
blind, the ear for the deaf, and the articulating mouthpiece
for the speech-impaired. The hand is an
extension of our brains. Human civilization is
the gift of our hands. Hand injury or
disease is disabling, and this is because
this alters our ability to interact with the
environment and function. When I was an orthopedic
resident in Baltimore, I helped in the care of a girl
that came to Johns Hopkins Hospital from Afghanistan. She had a congenital
hand abnormality. Her hand was massively
enlarged, more than twice the normal size. As she was so embarrassed
with her hand, she used to wear long
coats all the time and hide her hand
beneath the coat. Dr. Victor McKusick was
a renowned geneticist, came and lectured us
about her syndrome. Dr. Curtis, my mentor,
performed surgery on her. And I helped in the surgery. When I saw the
outcome of her surgery and the improvement
in the appearance and the function of her hand
and witnessed the thrill that she and her family
had after surgery, I knew that I found my calling. An essential element of
the Hand Fellowship Program is its excellent
faculty, including Drs. Lehman, Ruffin, Ali,
Adham, and Porembski. Integris Oklahoma City
is the home for the first and only Hand
Fellowship in the state. Orthopedic, plastic,
or general surgeons engage in a one-year
accredited fellowship program to learn the art and science
of hand and microsurgery. Research is a great
pathway for us learning and for improving
our patient’s care. And basic science
and clinical research is constantly evolving and
fundamental to the Hand Fellowship Program. Microsurgery is a
revolutionary technique that allows hand surgeons to
repair very small minute nerves and vessels. And by doing so, we are able to
reattach a completely amputated fingers and limbs. But also we can repair
nerves and restore function to paralyzed limbs. There are myriad of
upper extremity and hand abnormalities and defects that
children may be born with. The greatest gift a
surgeon can give to a child is surgery that will positively
influence the child’s life. Examples of these
surgeries are making a thumb for a child that
was born without one, correcting a severe
deformity of the forearm from a missing bone,
or restoring movement to a completely paralyzed limb
that happened from nerve injury during birth. The gratitude that a child’s
parents express after surgery makes it all worthwhile. Watching a child on a video
after surgery throwing a ball, painting on a canvas, or
playing a musical instrument with the hand that he could
not use before or even more importantly, watching
a child writing me a thank you
note with a thumb– a new thumb that
he never had before is the ultimate
professional satisfaction. It is priceless.

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