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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Impact of Hand Injury and Disease

Having the use of our hands for even the simplest tasks, like using a knife and fork or brushing our teeth, is something many of us take for granted. However, for those who have experienced traumatic injury or the crippling effects of degenerative diseases like arthritis, these simple daily tasks can be challenging and bring on severe pain. The surgeons, clinicians and support team in UHN’s Hand Program, an integral component of the Arthritis Program, are helping to give people back the use of their hands, and as a result, their independence.

Image of Dr Steve McCabe and Maryam Zolfi
Dr. ​Steve Mc​Cabe and Maryam Zolfi

Meet our Team​​

UHN’s Hand Program includes several internationally renowned physicians in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Toronto Western Hospital. They include:

The H​and Program at Toronto Western Hospital

Overseen by Director Dr. Steven McCabe at Toronto Western Hospital, the Hand Program bases their program on a care model that is highly collaborative. As the only such program in Toronto, and one of two such resources in Ontario, people come from all over the province to receive specialized care at UHN’s Hand Program.

With a vision to become a world-leading centre for arthritis, surgeons, nurses, social workers, physical and occupational therapists work together to be a “one-stop shop” for hand patients. The Hand Program provides care for all hand conditions including: traumatic hand injury, arthritis of the hands such as rheumatoid, and acquired disease such as carpal tunnel syndrome, traumatic arthritis, inflammatory conditions, and work-related hand injuries. Patients receive a range of treatments, from hand therapy and medical management to finger and hand re-attachment in the event of a severe trauma.​

The goals for The Hand Program:

  1. Create a Centre for Upper-Extremity Restoration.
  2. Develop the first electronic database for understanding populations of hand patients.

Special Clinic Interests

  1. Wrist and hand arthritis including:
    • osteoarthritis
    • rheumatoid arthritis​
  2. Base-of-thumb arthritis
  3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  4. Post traumatic arthritis
  5. Re-animation of upper extremity
  6. Dupuytren’s Contracture

Funding Priorities

The Hand Program at Toronto Western Hospital is committed to providing exemplary care for patients with all conditions, diseases and trauma affecting the hands. Looking to the future, and through the help of donors like you, we will strive to foster continued excellence in patient care, education and research through the following funding priorities:

  1. Create a Centre for Upper-Extremity Restoration
    • Hand Transplantation: In a Canadian first, a multidisciplinary surgical team led by Dr. Steven McCabe successfully completed the country’s first transplant of the upper limb in January 2016. This remarkable achievement was made possible through the collaboration between The Hand Program and UHN’s Soham & Shaila Ajmera Family Transplant Centre. This is an important step that paves the way for the program to offer other innovative tissue surgeries. Philanthropic support will further enable The Hand Program to build upon this success, providing the extensive resources required to provide this procedure to more patients who could benefit from it.
    • Targeted Muscle Reinnervation: Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) allows a prosthetic arm to respond directly to the brain’s signals, making it much easier to use than traditional motorized prosthetics. This technique, still under development, allows wearers to open and close their artificial hands and bend and straighten their artificial elbows nearly as naturally as their own arms. By reassigning these nerves, doctors in the Hand Program will make it possible for people who have had upper-arm amputations to control their prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action they want to perform.
  2. Develop the first electronic database for understanding populations of hand patients
    Electronic databases are fast becoming the global standard for health networks, designed to accommodate physicians, nurses, allied healthcare professionals, and other specialized care providers. An electronic database for the Hand Program will enable patient information to be located in one system, encompassing and integrating all aspects of patient-care. This will significantly increase the amount of time physicians can then spend with their respective patients, enhancing the quality, delivery, and accessibility of healthcare.​

Help us support the Arthritis Campaign.
For more information please contact:
Anette Larsson, CFRE, Director, Campaigns, Arthritis Program
Phone: 416 603 5800 ext.4059 Email:​