Hand and Upper Extremity Program

All the Care You Need

Full-Service Hand and Upper Extremity Care

Children who are born with hand or upper extremity differences, and those who acquire an injury from birth or trauma, face unique challenges. The Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital offers comprehensive care for your child’s particular health needs.

Our three specially trained pediatric orthopedic and plastic hand surgeons provide skilled, customized treatment from infancy to young adulthood. Our multidisciplinary team works to provide patient-centered treatment plans that offer the best outcomes in terms of mechanics, physical appearance and a child’s confidence. This perspective helps us look beyond surgery and rehabilitation to the goal of optimal long-term health for every child.

US News Badge Orthopedics

Nationwide Children's Hospital is ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Orthopedics.

The Support of an Entire Hospital, Wrapped Up in a Single Program

From the initial consultation through ongoing care, our experts address the far-reaching impacts of hand and arm problems. Collaborative care from orthopedic and plastic surgery experts help make sure each care plan addresses both how well the hand and arm work and how well they look.

Our comprehensive, custom care plans connect patients to whatever services they need to recover to the fullest extent possible. This usually includes physical rehabilitation and adaptive medicine, behavioral and emotional support, and more.

Although we have access to the support of the entirety of Nationwide Children’s, we collaborate most often with these programs:

Meet the Team

Our multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons and hand therapists are supported by the full range of resources at Nationwide Children’s. Our patient families receive custom care planning to encompass all of their needs, so each child’s care team is unique and comprehensive.

We frequently work with experts in psychology, genetics, physical medicine, and many other hospital programs to make sure that — once they begin care through the Hand and Upper Extremity Program — our patients get all the care they need.

James Popp

James E. Popp

James E. Popp, MD, is the Director of the Hand Service at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a Adjunct Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He specializes in surgery of the hand and upper extremity in adult and pediatric patients. His expertise includes common hand problems (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), wrist arthroscopy, congenital hand differences, and complex pediatric and adult reconstructive micro-vascular surgery.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Kim A. Bjorklund

Dr. Kim Bjorklund is Director of the Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Program. She is a member of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital and is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. 

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Julie B. Samora

Julie Balch Samora, MD, specializes in pediatric hand and upper extremity, with a focus on congenital differences, cerebral palsy and trauma. She is a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) Evidence Based Practice Committee, ASSH Ethics and Professionalism Committee, and president of the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS).

All Conditions, One Clinic

From creating thumbs and separating webbed fingers to repairing the tiniest blood vessels, nerves, tendons and bones after an injury, our team can handle even the most complex cases — all while providing your family with the attention and child-friendly care only offered by pediatric experts.

We support and care for children at all phases of growth and development through evaluation, therapy, surgical and psychological interventions.

Help is Available Now

A common misconception among patients and their families with congenital anomalies is that their condition is something they just have to live with. We don’t believe that’s true.

Advancements in treatment options enable us to help in ways that would have been unimaginable only a few short years ago. There is no reason why a patient should wait to seek help. In fact, the younger a patient is when we begin treatment, the better the outcome we can achieve. And when the outcome is good, quality of life is enhanced.

While patients come to us for many reasons, these are our areas of highest volume:

  • Congenital differences
    • Hypoplasia (underdeveloped hands or arms, or fewer fingers than normal)
    • Polydactyly (extra fingers)
    • Syndactyly (webbed or joined fingers)
    • Overgrowth of the hand or arm
    • Club hands
    • Complex congenital hands
  • Trauma
    • Fractures
    • Nerve damage
    • Tendon damage
    • Burns
  • Microvascular reconstruction
    • Nerve injuries
    • Soft tissue conditions
    • Congenital hand differences
    • Reconstruction after tumor resection
  • Sports
    • Fractures
    • Over-use injuries
    • Arthroscopic (joint) problems
  • Cerebral Palsy and spastic upper extremity conditions

Pediatric Hand Expertise Matters

What it Takes to Become a Trained Hand Surgeon

All of our Hand and Upper Extremity Program surgeons are specialized hand surgeons focusing on hand and arm care full time. To become a hand surgeon, doctors trained in plastic, orthopedic or general surgery must complete an extra year-long fellowship to specialize in surgery of the hand and arm.

Together with our hand therapists and rehabilitation programs, our surgeons offer patients the support of the entire hospital’s resources, serving patients as they grow and age, and returning them to their normal activities.

Specialized Hand Therapists

Our hand therapists specialize in caring exclusively for infants and children with hand and arm needs. When your child becomes a patient of our program, he or she may see one of our hand therapists at the same appointment, after visiting the hand surgeon. Therapists review each child’s unique situation and create a customized care plan during that visit. Treatment plans take into account a child’s age, development, hand or arm conditions, and activity goals.

Some of our hand therapy staff hold a prestigious certification in hand therapy, given only to therapists with more than 5,000 hours of hand and arm therapy who have also passed a specialized professional exam.

Hand and Upper Extremity Program Locations

Orthopedic Center
479 Parsons Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Main Campus- Plastic Surgery Clinic
700 Children's Drive
Suite T5E
Columbus, Ohio 43205

Westerville Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center
584 County Line Road West
Westerville, Ohio 43082

Pediatric Hand and Upper Extremity Research and Innovation

The CoULD Study

We are one of the few programs taking part in this national registry for children born with limb differences of the hand and upper extremity. The goal is to help improve knowledge and treatment of these conditions. 

AFM Care

Our surgeons are leading the way toward improved arm function after acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) — a rare condition that causes sudden weakness and loss of muscle tone in the arms. 

Tissue Reinnervation

We bring relief and new hope to children who have amputated arms due to cancer or injury. By reconnecting the cut nerves to healthy muscle tissue, our experts help reduce pain and give patients the option to use a bioprosthetic in the future.

Camp HALO 2022


Join us for a fun and educational day at Recreation Unlimited planned especially for children with limb differences and their families.