Board certified in both orthopedic surgery and hand surgery, Dr. George Pianka treats patients with innovative and, whenever possible, minimally invasive approaches to relieve suffering caused by hand and upper extremity injuries. He is one of a handful of surgeons who offers in-office, needle (no incision) treatments for conditions such as Trigger Finger and Dupuytren’s Contracture. Attentive and concerned with improving each patient’s quality of life, he has helped everyone from young athletes to the injured elderly. Highly respected by his colleagues, Dr. Pianka is the Senior Attending at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Tarrytown and Chief Emeritus of Hand Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Dr. Pianka believes in educating patients about their conditions, informing them about their options, and showing them how they can safeguard their hands and arms from further injury. By offering patients the latest and safest treatments, he reduces the time they need to recover and lets them get back to enjoying their daily lives as quickly as possible.
Dr. Pianka lectured and taught hand surgery for more than 21 years at the Orthopedic Residency Training Program at Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was twice honored by orthopedic residents as “Best Teacher.” In 2011 he brought his expertise to Westchester on a full-time basis, making it easier for local residents to get expert care without having to go into Manhattan.
Dr. Pianka, who frequently treats professional musicians and athletes, is a former consultant to the New York Jets for hand injuries and has assisted his partner, Dr. Anthony Maddalo, as a consultant for the New York Rangers. Dr. Pianka is also a consultant for Manhattan College student athletes.
Dr. Pianka completed a certified fellowship in hand surgery at the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopedic Institute in New York City. He is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and also holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand. He is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and New York Society for Surgery of the Hand.
If you have fingers that involuntarily curl forward, you may be suffering from a condition known as Dupuytren’s Contracture. It is caused by a thickening of the fibrous tissue layer below the skin of your palm and fingers. This condition can be treated by a minimally invasive procedure that Dr. Pianka performs in his office.
Previous treatments for Dupuytren’s Contracture required extensive surgery. However, Dr. Pianka offers a new alternative called a needle aponeurotomy, resulting in less discomfort, swelling and scarring. Recovery time is faster, too.
During the procedure, Dr. Pianka numbs the hand via anesthetic injection before using a hypodermic needle to divide the knotted tissue through microscopic puncture wounds. No incision is required. Patients can return to light work activities immediately. Strenuous work, sports, or hobbies can be resumed after only a week, and no physical therapy is needed.
Read more about Dupuytren’s Contracture.
If you notice that your thumb or one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position, then eventually straightens with a “snap,” or that one of your fingers is permanently locked in a bent position, then you probably have Trigger Finger. Trigger Finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that affects the tendons (tissues that connect muscle to bone) of the fingers or thumb.
Traditionally, trigger finger surgery is performed through an open incision in the palm of the hand. However, Dr. Pianka offers a more minimally invasive option called percutaneous trigger finger release, which allows for opening of the tendon sheath, using a simple needle device that is maneuvered under the skin.
There are many benefits to this treatment: The procedure is usually performed in his office using local anesthesia. In many cases, results are immediately apparent. The cost as well as the time spent at the office is significantly less than when this procedure is performed in the operating room. In addition, patients are able to wash and use their hand the same day since there are no bandages or sutures; plus they don’t need any physical therapy.
Read more about Trigger Finger.
It doesn’t always take falling off a ladder to cause a serious wrist fracture. Sometimes just putting out your hand to break a fall can cause a problem. Injuries to the wrist occur with regularity. So, if your wrist appears crooked or deformed or you suffer from pain and swelling, then you may have a fracture.
The good news is that Dr. Pianka is usually able to treat patients suffering from wrist fractures with outpatient surgery that allows for early motion and no cast. Sometimes, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery can be used to repair the damage to the interior of the wrist using a thin arthroscope that is introduced into the joint space through several tiny incisions. Incisions used with wrist arthroscopy are smaller and disrupt less soft tissue than conventional open surgery. As a result, pain, swelling and stiffness are minimized; recovery is faster; and there is less scarring.
Read more about wrist fractures.