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.
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 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.
Kim A. Bjorklund, MD, is a member of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Hand Program and Center for Complex and Craniofacial Disorders at Nationwide Children's Hospital and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. Dr. Bjorklund also serves as the Director of the Brachial Plexus Program.
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
- Nerve damage
- Tendon damage
- Microvascular reconstruction
- Nerve injuries
- Soft tissue conditions
- Congenital hand differences
- Reconstruction after tumor resection
- 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
479 Parsons Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Main Campus- Plastic Surgery Clinic
700 Children's Drive
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.
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.
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.
Join us for a fun and educational day at Recreation Unlimited planned especially for children with limb differences and their families.
More Hand and Upper Extremity Program Resources
Acute Flaccid Myelitis: A New Treatment Option for AFM
Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is a serious condition that affects the nervous system, causing weakness and paralysis in muscles. Thankfully, new treatments are being studied as doctors and scientists are learning more about AFM.
Thumb Surgery: How Hand Surgeons Can Build a Thumb
As a hand surgeon who works specifically on kid-specific hand and arm issues, I get the chance to build a more functional thumb that they can use for the rest of their lives.