Carrie Swigart, MD, is a hand surgeon, and the chief of hand and upper extremity surgery for Yale Medicine Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation. Dr. Swigart has been caring for people of all ages with disorders and injuries of the arm, elbow, hand and wrist for more than 20 years. She has highly specialized expertise in treating people with traumatic injuries, workplace injuries, degenerative conditions and nerve compression syndromes.
“For hand surgeons, it’s all about function,” Dr. Swigart says. “I feel it is important to find out not only what is causing a patient’s problem with their hand, but also how it is impacting their life. That information allows me to best tailor a treatment that helps them achieve their goals.”
While some patients will need surgery, others are surprised that there are nonsurgical options that will solve their problems as well. Dr. Swigart has helped many people regain significant function with the help of hand or physical therapy, custom splinting or casting, or a steroid injection.
An associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Swigart says that mentors she met during her residency influenced her choice of hand surgery as a specialty. She was attracted to the opportunity to treat “a wide variety of issues and tissues,” including arthritis, traumatic injuries, and conditions of nerves, tendons and ligaments. “In hand surgery, we treat all things related to the hand and arm, and are not limited to a type of problem or age range,” she says.
Dr. Swigart is also conducting research that she expects will bring continued improvements to hand surgery; for instance, a recent project was a clinical study that looked at the durability of muscle repair in wrist fracture surgery. She has been included in annual lists of the best doctors in the region.