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Surgery Instructions

The pre-op and post-op instruction content below is generic in nature and does NOT replace the information provided by your physician before or after a procedure.

What to Expect Before & After Your Surgery

The following pre-operative and post-operative instructions are for general information purposes. The instructions you were given by the physician or surgical center may differ from these instructions and would be more specific to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office directly.

Pre-Operative Surgery Instructions:

Please do not eat or drink the night before surgery or in the morning (this includes coffee, gum and candy). Not following these instructions may result in the anesthesiologist cancelling your case. Medicines that have been approved can be taken with a “sip” of water only.

  • Please ask all questions before getting to the preoperative area as much will be asked of you at that time and it is common to forget.
  • If you do have questions about the surgery or the post-operative care, PLEASE write them down and bring them with you. This way they won’t be missed.
  • PLEASE TAKE AN INDELIBLE MARKER AND WRITE YES ON THE BODY PART YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE SURGERY ON. If it is a finger, mark that finger, arm or leg mark the spot for surgery. It is not necessary to mark no on the non-operative side.
  • Please make sure you bring someone with you.
  • The hospital or surgery center should contact you at least 24-48 hours prior to surgery. If you have not been contacted by the afternoon prior to surgery, please contact the office.
  • If there are any questions about medications to take prior to surgery, please contact the hospital or surgery center where your surgery will take place. It is the determination of the anesthesia provider what should or should not be taken.
  • Medications that thin your blood may need to be stopped for a period of time prior to surgery. Please contact the office if you are on one of the following medications:
    • Plavix
    • Coumadin
    • Aspirin
    • NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, Naproxen, etc.)
  • If you are taking Herbal supplements or weight loss medicines, it may take 3 weeks before the anesthesiologist will perform an anesthetic. Please be honest as these drugs can be deadly in combination with anesthesia.
  • When in doubt, please ask.

Post-Operative Surgery Instructions:

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin. If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24 hours if you have a block.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin. If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.

  • It is normal to have spasms in your muscle because it may be on tension.

  • Do not go to the gym or get your heart rate up until wounds are healed—this will be after your first post-operative visit.

  • Depending on the strength of the repair, you may only be in a sling at the first post-op visit. Sometimes we will use a hinged brace that limits extension.

  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • It is ok to take Ibuprofen in addition or instead of pain medications.

  • Please call for any questions.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time. 

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours, although it could be longer.

  • You will have a Coban dressing and a removable splint. The splint can be readjusted and even removed but should be on when you are doing even light activities, going out and sleeping.

  • On post-op day ___ it is OK to remove the bandages entirely. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak (no dishes, hot tubs) or immerse in the water.

  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two. It is important to move the fingers that had surgery, so they do not get stuck. Because you had a carpal tunnel release, it may be more difficult to move. It is ok to push your finger down into your hand with the other hand to help it move.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.

  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything. Wear it when you are out and about and to sleep.

  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin, or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat, and the wound can get macerated and open up.

  • Band-aids are ok, but make sure to let the incision "breathe" as it will heal much faster with air.

  • It is normal to have any type of nerve symptom. Numbness, increased/decreased feeling, shooting electrical impulse or nothing. Abnormal feelings can take some time to go away.

  • Any redness, increased heat, and of course, anything that looks like an infection required you to call us to be evaluated.

  • You may have been given a prescription for pain medication. Most patients do not require narcotic pain medications for carpal tunnel surgery. Ibuprofen is ok to take with or in place of narcotic pain medication.

  • If you do not have a follow-up appointment scheduled, please call our office to schedule a visit.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time. 

  • The numbness from the surgical anesthetic usually lasts about 6 hours, although it could be longer

  • You will have a Coban dressing and a removable splint. The splint can be readjusted and even removed but should be on when you are doing even light activities, going out and sleeping.

  • On post-op day _____ it is OK to remove the bandages entirely. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak (no dishes, hot tubs) or immerse in the water.

  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two - if it hurts don't do it.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be very difficult, don’t push it.

  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything. Wear it when you are out and about and to sleep.

  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin, or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat, and the wound can get macerated and open up.

  • Band-aids are ok, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.

  • It is normal to have any type of nerve symptom. Numbness, increased/decreased feeling, shooting electrical impulse or nothing. The abnormal feelings can take some time to go away. The never is damaged before we start and surgery will irritate it. Healing of the nerve can take up to 6 months in severe cases.

  • Any redness, increased heat, and of course anything that looks like an infection required you to call us to be evaluated.

  • You may have been given a prescription for pain medication. Most patients do not require narcotic pain medications for carpal tunnel surgery. Ibuprofen is fine to take with or in place of narcotic pain medication.

  • If you do not have a follow-up appointment, please call 916-8480 for an appointment.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time. 

  • The numbness from the surgery usually lasts about 6 hours.

  • You will have a Coban dressing.

  • On post-op day 2 it is OK to remove the bandages entirely. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak (no dishes, hot tubs) or immerse in the water.

  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be very difficult, don’t push it.

  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin, or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat, and the wound will get macerated and open up.

  • Band-aids should not be used. You will sweat under them and cause the incision to macerate and come apart. Let the incision "breathe" as it will heal much faster with air than with occlusive dressings. Coban is better for protection, use it as needed.

  • Ibuprofen is ok to take in addition or instead of pain medication.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • It is important to keep the hand warm (no ice). Also, limit caffeine and absolutely no smoking. Often, because the finger is contracted, when we release it, the blood vessels and skin will be on “stretch” after release. The finger will respond poorly to vascular challenges such as cold or vasoconstricting agents like caffeine and nicotine.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us.

  • You should have a therapy appointment set up after surgery. This usually will be within 5-7 days. The therapist will take off your splint and make a new one for you. You are ok to shower and get the wound wet at this point.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours.

  • You will have a Coban dressing and a removable splint. The splint can be readjusted and even removed but should be on when you are doing even light activities, going out, and sleeping

  • On post-op day 2 it is OK to remove the bandages entirely unless otherwise directed. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak or immerse in water (no dishes, hot tubs, etc).

  • I want you to move your fingers freely and actively (full range of motion), just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it. 

  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything. Wear it when you are out and about and to sleep. Band-aids are OK, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • You are to slowly wean out of the splint over the first two weeks after surgery. If the surgical site is swollen or it hurts, then wear the splint. There is no requirement for splint use once the dressings have been removed. It is there for your protection and comfort.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • Most likely, at least some of your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint  underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it  was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin. If you  think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • If you see a lot of swelling: please get the hand elevated and slow your activities down. If the swelling persists after elevation, please check the bandage and give us a call.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours.

  • You will have a Coban dressing and a removable splint. The splint can be readjusted and even removed but should be on when you are doing even light activities, going out, and sleeping.

  • On post-op day _____ it is OK to remove the bandages entirely. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak or immerse in water (no dishes, hot tubs, etc).

  • I want you to move your fingers freely and actively (full range of motion), just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.

  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything. Wear it when you are out and about and to sleep.

  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat, and the wound will get macerated and open up.

  • Band-aids are OK, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.

  • When we remove a ganglion cyst, we remove a portion of the wrist capsule. Thistakes time to heal. The splint is there to protect you. Use it!

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • Your finger will be wrapped with a splint on after surgery.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours.

  • You should have an appointment with the hand therapist to make a splint in the next 2-5 days.

  • Your finger can stay numb up to 24 hours, keep it elevated to prevent swelling.

  • Moving the end joint (DIP) of the finger will cause this incision to break open, this is the reason for the splint.

  • It is ok to shower and get the incision wet once you have seen the therapist, just don’t bend the finger. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak or immerse in water (no dishes, hot tubs, etc).

  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat, and the wound will get macerated.

  • You will not need the splint once the wound has healed.

  • It is ok to take ibuprofen.

  • Please call if the wound looks bad, red or swollen.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from the surgical anesthetic usually lasts about 6 hours.

  • You will have a splint. The splint should not be removed.

  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be very difficult, don’t push it.

  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything.

  • It is normal to have any type of nerve symptom. Numbness, increased/decreased feeling, shooting electrical impulse or nothing. Abnormal feelings can take some time to go away. The nerve is damaged before we start, and surgery will irritate it. Healing of the nerve can take up to 6 months in severe cases.

  • Any redness increased heat, and of course, anything that looks like an infection required you to call us to be evaluated.

  • It is ok to take ibuprofen in addition or instead of pain medication if needed.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24hours. If you had a block, it may be longer.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or take a bath.

  • Do not try to make a fist. Do not “try out” the tendon repair. The tendons are sutured end to end. Pulling on the end by moving the finger can cause the repair to fail.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • Most of the time you should have therapy set up. It is important to go to this appointment. Please call if you can’t make it.

  • If you do not have a therapy appointment, please do not do anything with the affected hand unless instructed by us.

  • Any redness increased heat, and of course anything that looks like an infection should be evaluated—please call.

  • It is going to take a long time for your hand to be normal again. There is no way to speed up healing faster than your body will work on its own. Tendon repairs are protected with a splint for 6 weeks. That is a long time. We do specific therapy depending on how far out from surgery you are. Sometimes we will do “Place and Hold” and limited active or active-assisted range of motion. These are to be done with the therapist, under their direction. More is not always better.

  • Under no circumstances are you to sleep without your splint in the first 6 weeks after surgery. You have no control over yourself while asleep.

  • The goal with the first 6 weeks of therapy is to allow the tendon to heal with the least amount of adhesions, maintaining as much normal motion as possible.

  • All splinting should be done by 6 weeks. Sometimes, you will need to wear it for high-risk activities (crowds, work, etc.).

  • Therapy can last up to 3 months.

  • It is not unusual to have a second surgery to loosen the tendon. There will be NO immobilization or splint after a second surgery as motion is key and the tendon will be healed.

  • Any questions– PLEASE ASK.

  • It is ok to take ibuprofen in addition or instead of pain medication if needed.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery can last up to 24 hours with a block. It is ok to take Ibuprofen in addition to pain medication. Taking medication as the block is wearing off will help the initial pain control. The first 24 hours after the block has worn off is the most painful and the most critical for swelling. Don’t plan on doing anything including going to work.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. Your thumb will be in the splint. You should move the fingers, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin. If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • An increase in pain or swelling days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • It is going to take a long time for your hand and thumb to be normal again. There is no way to speed up the healing process. In addition, your thumb/hand wasn’t normal, to begin with. Muscles and strength are gone due to long-standing arthritis. The best thing to do is to protect the surgery and follow our directions.

  • Please call the office if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24 hours if you have a block.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin. If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.

  • It is normal to have any type of nerve symptom. Numbness, increased/decreased feeling, increased/decreased the temperature, shooting electrical pulses, or nothing. Abnormal feelings can take some time to go away. The nerve is already damaged surgery can irritate it. Healing of the nerve can take 6-18 months in severe cases.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • It is ok to take Ibuprofen in addition or instead of pain medications.

  • Please call for any questions.

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.

  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24 hours if you have had a block.

  • If you have a catheter, it may be longer.

  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.

  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.

  • If you can take ibuprofen, it is ok to take it with or instead of pain medication.

  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin. If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.

  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.

  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

  • If we had to repair the TFCC, the elbow will be immobilized for a few weeks. There will be a slow progression of motion over 6-8 weeks.

  • It takes a TFCC at least 3 months to heal enough to play sports. It takes a Tommy John (elbow), shoulder, or ACL (knee) 9-12 months to return to sports. Remember this when you get frustrated.

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