Ask a Hand Surgeon: Dr Yeo Chong Jin from Gleneagles Hospital Singapore

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: Hand SurgeryAsk a Hand Surgeon: Dr Yeo Chong Jin from Gleneagles Hospital Singapore
Dr Yeo Chong Jin asked 2 years ago
I am Dr Yeo Chong Jin, Hand Surgeon based in Gleneagles Hospital Singapore. Ask Me Anything!

I graduated from University of Glasgow, UK with my basic medical degree (MBChB) in 2001 and continued my post graduate basic surgical training in the UK and returned to Singapore in 2006.

I went on to obtain my higher surgical qualifications (MRCS, M.Med) and was accredited by the Ministry of Health (Singapore) as a Hand Surgeon in 2012.

I was awarded the Higher Manpower Development Program for 2012 and completed my fellowship in Adelaide, South Australia with Professor Gregory Bain who is a world renowned upper limb specialist dealing with tertiary referrals from around Australia and region for complex shoulder, elbow and wrist disorders.

I have been working in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) since 2008, and served as Chief of the Hand & Microsurgery Section there from 2013-2015. I continue to be a visiting consultant in TTSH and am actively involved in the training of the junior surgeons and residents.

My clinical interest includes treatment of all hand and wrist trauma and fractures, replantations and reconstructive microsurgery. I have a special interest in minimally invasive surgery for the hand & wrist problems, including wrist arthroscopy, arthroscopic assisted surgery, percutaneous fixation and endoscopic peripheral nerve surgery. I also manage sports related injuries of the wrist and hand.

I was a senior clinical lecturer during my tenure in TTSH and was involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

I was also the fellowship director for hand surgery in TTSH. I had previously sat on the Examination Subcommittee for Hand Surgery Residency Program, and was an EXCO member of the Singapore Society for Hand Surgery.

I am currently in the Asia Pacific Wrist Association. I published some articles and book chapters with Prof Greg Bain on the rare wrist condition known as Kienböck disease. I have also contributed a book chapter on lower limb flap in Grabb’s Encyclopedia of Flaps.

Learn more about me here:

I am excited to be here to share/discuss Hand & Wrist conditions with everyone. I will be actively sharing questions.

Whether you've got questions about hand and wrist injuries, hand surgery, hand replantations or hand reconstructive microsurgery, ask me anything!

=== Want to ask a question? Submit your question at the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to include your name and email address to get notified when the doctor answers your question.
16 Answers
Donovan answered 2 years ago

The skin on my fingers is swollen and thickened. My fingers are constantly bent and it’s hard to move them. They are bent down inwards and hard to be moved. What procedures are necessary to treat this?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Donovan,

I’m assuming you are referring to the palm side of hand and fingers. Barring any previous penetrating injuries, this may be Dupuytren’s disease or contracture, where cord-like structures in the palm (sometimes going up the finger) gradually prevent the fingers from straightening and hence affecting the function. This is more commonly found in Caucasians with Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry, however it can also rarely occur in the asian population.

Treatment is personalized depending on the functional deficit. Early stages can be treated with serial splinting by a hand therapist. Surgical treatments include excising the cord-like structures for the patient to achieve more motion for their affected fingers.

Kenneth answered 2 years ago

My wrist is locked. I cannot bend it forward or backwards. The area around the wrist is also red but not swollen. I have tried compressing it with ice but it does not seem to help. It’s been close to 3 days since it’s locked. Should I see a doctor?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Kenneth

You should have your wrist examined by a doctor. If there is associated trauma or fall, you will require imaging like xrays to exclude any fractures or even an MRI for ligament or soft tissue injuries. If there was no trauma involved, your doctor may also run some blood tests together with the aforementioned imaging tests, to exclude or confirm inflammatory or infective causes for the wrist.

Song Quan answered 2 years ago

Doctor, why do I feel like I am losing strength in my grip? When I squeeze something, my arm hurts.

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Song Quan

If there was no trauma involved, and the grip strength is decreasing gradually on one side, this can indicate a peripheral nerve compression issue on that limb. If the weakness is on both upper limbs, then the compression can be more central (ie from the neck/spine).

You will benefit from a medical consult where the doctor is able take a thorough history and do a clinical examination to determine the most likely cause of your weakness. Nerve compression issues are best dealt with early to have a better recovery prognosis.

Aida answered 2 years ago

The base of my thumb is swollen and bulging after I accidentally fell and hit my palm yesterday. Should I seek medical help or is there something I can do at home to see if I can fix the bulge?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Aida
It is advisable to seek a medical consult where an XR can be arranged to exclude any fractures and dislocations. These are much easier to deal with at an early stage. Treatment is then guided by the clinical and XR findings.

Chye Teck answered 2 years ago

I used to bowl quite actively but have since retired from the game. I noticed that recently, the joints in my fingers and right hand have a burning sensation and in the morning, I often feel pain. Is this arthritis? What can I do to fix it?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Chye Teck

Arthritis in the hands can cause morning stiffness with associated pain from overuse. Sometimes there is also some joint deformity or swelling in the affected joints. Treatment for arthritis includes activity modification to minimise the aggravating factors. If the patient becomes more persistent, then surgery may help to alleviate the pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome should also be considered in your case as these can give rise to morning stiffness with either numbness or nerve pain (pins and needles or burning sensation). Conservative treatment like activity modification or night splinting can help the early cases. Surgical decompression of the carpal tunnel should be considered for worsening symptoms. Endoscopic carpal tunnel release can be performed under local anaesthesia in a day-surgery setting with minimal downtime.

Yong Seng answered 2 years ago

I am 67 years old. I feel like I'm losing control of the fingers on my right hand. Sometimes they move or clench without me controlling them. Is this because of nerve damage?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Yong Seng

This may be a more central nervous system issue and I will recommend you consult a neurologist for an assessment first.

Samantha C. answered 2 years ago

Doctor, why is my right elbow joint so sensitive? Just touching it gives me shivers and when I accidentally bump it into a hard surface, it can hurt for days. Should I be concerned?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Samantha

If the sensitive part is on the inner part of the elbow, it could be the ulnar nerve that is sensitive or inflamed. This can sometimes lead to an electric current type feeling when knocked, and even cause numbness on the little and ring fingers, and sometimes weakness or clumsiness too.

If the pain is directly on the elbow, it can be an olecranon bursitis.

Just have it checked out and assessed clinically by a hand surgeon.

Jen answered 2 years ago

The area around my nails are swollen and my fingers are turning dark. It is now hard to move them. I cannot clench my fingers into a fist or bend them backwards. What problem am I having here?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Jen

Please have this checked out by a doctor ASAP if the swelling has been recent. This can be a paronychia, infection around the nail folds, that can spread down to the pulp and down the finger, making it painful and swollen. When it travels down the finger, this becomes an infective tenosynovitis , and these need urgent surgery to resolve the issue. There is a risk of the infection spreading further up the arm or through the blood stream if the condition is not arrested early.

Umar answered 2 years ago

I have a habit of cracking my knuckles by pushing my fingers inwards to my palm. However, yesterday I pushed my right little finger too hard and it cracked loudly. Now, it is shaky and painful. Is it a fracture? What risk would there be if I leave it untreated?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Uma,

A fracture in the hand usually takes about 6 weeks to heal. We tend to protect the fractures to prevent the fracture from shifting into an undesirable position while its healing. The pain in a fracture usually starts to get better by week 3-4 when the new bones starts to form making the fracture more stable.

Another possible structure you might have injured is the ligament in the finger. ligament injuries can take 6-12 weeks to settle/heal. However immobilisation for that period of time is not always desirable as it can lead to stiffness in the hand that is difficult to subsequently correct.

You can consider observing it for a couple of days, but do have it examined by a hand surgeon if it doesn’t improve.

Leon answered 2 years ago

Doctor, my father has diabetes and his doctor has advised that we amputate the upper half of two of his fingers on his right hand. Will this affect the usage of his hand? Can we consider having finger implants for the parts that are amputated?

Dr Yeo Chong Jin replied 2 years ago

Dear Leon

Amputation of half the digit length will have some functional deficit, depending upon which digits are involved. However, amputations done for diabetics are usually due to a bad infection, and is performed to control the infection and prevent it from spreading to the rest of the body.

Finger prosthesis are available but they are more for cosmetic/aesthetic purposes, rather than to improve the function.

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