Xuan Luo, MD, is a hand, shoulder, and elbow surgeon who cares for patients of all ages. He treats carpal tunnel syndrome, forearm fractures, and other problems that affect the upper extremities. He has a special interest in degenerative diseases of the hand, including arthritis in the hand and the fingers.
For many new patients, Dr. Luo starts by providing a nonsurgical approach, such as physical therapy or an injection. If those methods don’t help, he may propose a surgical procedure to restore as much function as possible, relieve pain, or at least stop a problem from getting worse.
“I try to be realistic with all of my patients,” Dr. Luo says. “Different conditions affecting the upper extremities will have different amounts of recovery, and while most patients do very well with treatment, some may not recover 100 percent.” He works with other specialists in imaging, physical therapy, and other fields to achieve the best possible results. “At Yale, it helps that we all talk to each other and we provide everything in one place,” he says.
Both of Dr. Luo’s parents were doctors, but he initially wanted to pursue engineering. In college, he began thinking about medicine and soon realized he could combine both of his interests as an orthopedist. “Bones are kind of simple. They're just structure, and tendons are just ropes. They're support,” he says. “And because these parts are simple enough for us to understand, we can put things in to augment a bone that's brittle or broken, or augment a tendon that's not strong enough, or change things around somehow to help the body function better.”
Dr. Luo urges anyone with pain or movement issues in their hand, elbow, or shoulder to seek care from a specialist. “While it is very adaptable, the hand is prone to stiffness,” he says. So, any misstep in treatment, such as wearing a splint for a long time, can sometimes do more harm than good, he adds.
Dr. Luo is an assistant professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine.