CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A hand is a strange thing: It's delicate, intricately composed of dozens of tiny bones and tissues, tendons and ligaments. And damage to one, be it chronic pain or a traumatic injury, can be life altering.
That's why Scott Ciaccia likes it.
Ciaccia is a hand and upper extremities specialist in orthopedics with the Charleston Area Medical Center Physician's Group. He's the only hand specialist at CAMC, and a relatively new addition to Charleston; He's been here since August.
Ciaccia works in orthopedics, that's the branch of medicine that deals with deformities in bones or muscles. But he was drawn to a specialization in the upper extremities because of all the soft tissue we have in our hands.
"I was most intrigued probably by my love for orthopedics and the carpentry that goes into it — how you keep something stable, what you need to protect," he said. "All those things are still present in hands but you have this whole soft tissue aspect that comes out of plastic surgery too, and that's interesting."
Before Ciaccia came to the area, people were still getting their hand troubles treated, sometimes through referrals to far-off specialists, but often through plastic surgeons locally. But he thinks his background in orthopedics prompts him to look at problems in a different way, a way that can benefit patients in many cases.
It's rewarding work, he said, because of the simplicity of many of the procedures he uses, and the rewards that those procedures reap for patients.
"They're quick," he said of his techniques. "They're elegant in design and the patients find value in that."
Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, can be debilitating for patients, causing extreme pain in the wrist and hand leading to limited use of the extremity. But the solution is relatively simple and pain free — and often improves the quality of a patient's life manifold.
A lot of what Ciaccia does is deal with that type of procedure, simple fixes for chronic conditions. But another portion of what he does deals with traumatic injuries to the extremities. Since coming to West Virginia he's certainly seen coal miners with crushed digits from mining accidents, and had to go in and rebuild the limb.
"It's everything from the most horrific trauma and even the need for replantation to the simple things like the older lady with carpal tunnel," he said. "It's just kind of neat."
There are certainly complications at times, but generally the work is associated with good outcomes and satisfied patients, he said. And satisfied patients mean a satisfied doctor.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.