FAQ

General

Where is The Hand Centre?

The Hand Centre is located at 171 Bigge Street in Liverpool in Suite 4 on Level 4. Click here for a map of the area.

Who can I see at The Hand Centre?

At the Hand Centre you will either be seen by one of our qualified hand surgeons or hand therapists depending on the nature of your hand problem.

Where can I park? 

Metered parking is available on Bigge Street; however, it is limited. Alternatively you can park in the Council car park located behind Bigge Street on Warren Service Way.

Hand Surgery

What is a hand surgeon?

Hand surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat all the problems that occur in the hand and wrist. They undertake special training in hand surgery on top of their pre-existing qualifications as orthopaedic, plastic or general surgeons. Unlike plastic, orthopaedic and general surgeons, who may include hand surgery within their skillset, hand surgeons focus on the hand and wrist, applying both orthopaedic and plastic skills to develop special expertise in dealing with hand problems. Hand surgeons recognise that not all problems require surgery, and will recommend non-surgical treatments where they are more appropriate.

In Australia, hand surgeons have generally undertaken at least 12 months’ specialist hand training in addition to their orthopaedic, plastics or general surgery training. Hand surgeons who are members of the Australian Hand Surgery Society must be registered surgical specialists (orthopaedic, plastic or general), have undertaken hand surgery training, have at least 2 years’ post-qualification surgical experience and completed a 12 month hand surgery log book.

Why visit a hand surgeon?

The hand is extremely complicated.  It is made up of 27 bones (including the 8 bones of the wrist), together with joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels, all designed to work together in a delicate balance.  It takes special training to understand all the problems that can occur in the hand, the way in which a problem in one element of the hand affects the others, and the best course of action to be taken to restore overall hand function. Hand surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat all these problems.

Will visiting a hand surgeon mean I have to have surgery?

No. Hand surgeons recognised that not all problems require surgery, and will recommend non-surgical treatments where they are more appropriate. They generally work closely with hand therapists to ensure that patients get the best treatment for their injury or condition.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

A written referral from your GP or other medical specialist is required for you to receive a Medicare rebate. You can still attend a consultation if you do not have a referral, but you will not be eligible for the Medicare rebate and so will be responsible for the entire cost of the consultation.

Can I get a diagnosis over the phone or via email?

No. Your hand surgeon needs to see you in person in order to take a medical history, conduct a physical examination and discuss what options best suit your personal circumstances.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

This depends on the time of year (some times are busier than others) and the nature of your problem. Usually you will not wait more than a few weeks for an appointment, and will often be offered an appointment within a week. Provision is made for patients with traumatic injuries requiring immediate treatment.

How long will my appointment take?

Initial appointments typically take around 30 minutes. Subsequent appointments are usually around 15 minutes, but will vary depending on the nature of the injury or condition.

Is there a pensioner discount?

Aged Pensioners are entitled to a concessional rate upon presentation of a current Pension Concession Card.

What preparation do I need to do for my appointment?

See Preparing for an Appointment.

How much will my surgery cost?

If you are considering surgery, your hand surgeon will give you a quotation for your surgery during or following your consultation. The cost will depend on the nature of the procedure you require. See further under Billing.

Can I get a cost estimate for surgery over the phone?

No. Cost estimates for surgery are dependent on the surgeon’s expert assessment of what procedure is required for each individual patient, so cost estimates cannot be provided without a prior consultation.

What preparation do I need to do for my surgery?

See Preparing for a Procedure .

Hand Therapy

What is a hand therapist?

‘Hand therapist’ is shorthand for an occupational therapist or physiotherapist who specialises in the treatment of upper limb (shoulder to hand) conditions. Hand therapists undertake further education, perform independent study and acquire clinical experience specific to the upper limb. They recognise and treat a variety of chronic and acute hand injuries and conditions, and offer both pre-operative and post-operative therapy for surgical patients.

What is an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist focuses on promoting health and wellbeing through occupation. The primary aim of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in everyday activities. In the context of hand therapy, this means using activity to restore hand function and to promote a return to daily life and employment. Occupational therapists use a client-centred approach to determine the activities each patient wants, needs or is expected to perform, and then work with the patient to enable them to engage in those activities.

What is a physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist assesses, diagnoses, treats and works to prevent disease and disability through physical means. Physiotherapists are experts in movement and function who work with their patients to overcome movement disorders, whether present from birth, arising from injury or the result of disease, usage or age. In the context of hand therapy, this means assisting patients to recover from injury, reducing pain and stiffness and increasing mobility in the hand so that they can return to daily life and employment.

What is a Certified Hand Therapist?

A Certified Hand Therapist is an occupational therapist or physiotherapist who has passed an exam in advanced clinical skills and theory and has more than 5 years of clinical experience, including more than 4,000 hours of hand therapy practice. Certified Hand Therapists are required to re-certify every 5 years.

Why see a hand therapist?

Hand therapists have a high degree of specialisation involving continuing education, independent study and clincial experience specific to the upper limb. They recognise and treat a variety of chronic and acute hand injuries and conditions, and offer both pre-operative and post-operative therapy for surgical patients. Their knowledge of the hand is thorough and specific. They work closely with patients to reduce pain and stiffness and increase function and mobility in order to ensure a speedy return to daily activities.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

Only if you are a WorkCover, motor accident or government-insured patient. If you have consulted a GP or specialist about your hand problem, you may be referred to us, but a written referral is not necessary if you are self-funded or privately-insured.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

This depends on the time of year (some times are busier than others) and the nature of your problem. Usually, though, you will be offered an appointment within a few days, and often on the same day. Provision is made for patients with traumatic injuries requiring immediate treatment.

What preparation do I need to do for my appointment?

See Preparing for an Appointment.

Suite 4, Level 4, 171 Bigge St, Liverpool NSW 2170