Our faculty are leaders in research into complex hand problems and developing innovative techniques for the treatment of hand conditions. 

Research being done by the Duke Division of Hand Surgery includes new treatments for wrist and elbow fractures; the use of new technology, such as arthroscopy, and the use of microscopes to assist in surgical management of upper extremity problems; developing advanced programs for training the next generation of leaders in hand surgery, nerve repair and regeneration, tendon repair and reconstruction, wrist injuries, compartment syndrome, and upper extremity anatomy. Duke is fortunate to have resources available to tackle many challenging questions in the field—ultimately to improve the outcomes and the experiences of our patients.

Our expertise includes:

  • Upper extremity fractures and dislocations: We have developed a large database on these injuries 
  • Upper extremity nerve injuries

Clinical Research Programs

Hand Transplant Program

Director: Linda Cendales, MD

Directed by a leading expert in VCA, the Duke Hand Transplantation Program amalgamates a multidisciplinary team of world-renowned specialists in transplantation, orthopedics, hand surgery, microsurgery, plastic surgery, immunology, anesthesiology, mental health, and physical rehabilitation. For eligible patients, the program aims to provide a functional limb, prevent rejection of the limb, and minimize the need for immunosuppressive therapy.

Laboratory of Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation

Director: Linda Cendales, MD

Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) refers to the transplantation of multiple tissues, such as skin, muscle, tendon, nerve, and bone, as a functional unit (e.g. a hand). Several recent advances in clinical organ transplant immunosuppression and experimental VCA have now made it feasible to consider clinical VCA for functional restoration in patients with the loss of one or both hands or large tissue defects that may not be reconstructed with autologous tissue. Our research facilitates the translation of VCA from the bench to the bedside.

Touching Hands Program

Director: Fraser J. Leversedge, MD

THP medical teams travel around the world to poor countries such as Haiti, Ethiopia and Honduras to treat and evaluate patients for hand and/or arm conditions, deformities and injuries.