Hand Surgeries

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By Grammy Shirley

December 23, 2002

This is information regarding Jennifer Deprizio’s many hand surgeries.

Before Jennifer came to live with me in 1997, she had been through many hand surgeries to open the digits and to keep her hands from mittening.

Jennifer’s hand before surgery

None of them worked and the reason for this is lack of care. Lack of constantly using the braces and/or splints that Dr. Dell and the therapist made for her, to keep the skin from growing together and the webbing and mittening.

At this time in Jenn’s life the braces/splints were rather crude and they were harder than now. Now they are made of “Odoform” and other softer substances.

Odoform is like putty, which is shaped to the hand during surgery, and remains soft, but firm.

When Jennifer came with me in 1997 both hands were webbed and mittened. She had “pinchers” so that did enable her to use her hands a bit, but not much. Jennifer had her first hand surgery while with me in June 1998. Dr. Dell at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl. did this as an outpatient. She had gas anesthesia. Jennifer did not have to be intubated as she was always going to be lying on her back. They put an excessive amount of Vaseline on her face so the mask would not disrupt the skin. It worked very well.

Jennifer’s hand after surgery

We stayed in Gainesville in a motel for a week, as Dr. Dell needed to change her bandages every day and check to see if the brace was in place. We live about three hours from Shands. Jennifer was uncomfortable when I brought her back to our room, but was still under the effects of the anesthesia and pain medication, so slept until we had to go back the next day. The bandages did drain a lot and that is normal. That is why the bandage needs to be changed every day for a while, al