Instructions After Hand Surgery

Following surgery, your hand may be immobilized in a splint, cast or soft dressing. It is important that you follow these instructions:

    1. Keep your hand and arm elevated above the level of your heart for 3 – 5 days after surgery. Pain and swelling may be reduced by keeping your arm elevated. While sitting in a chair or lying in bed, place your arm on pillows to keep it elevated. While walking around, keep your hand elevated on your opposite shoulder. You may discontinue elevation when lowering the hand no longer causes it to throb.
    2. Keep your dressing clean and dry at all times. Place a large plastic bag over your splint or cast when you shower or bathe to prevent it from getting wet. Place 2 rubber bands above the splint to keep the bag in place and to avoid leaking.
    3. After surgery, you may be instructed to perform certain exercises. Complete these exercises for 5 – 10 minutes, 4 times per day.
    4. Use the exposed fingers for light activities, such as eating and dressing. Make fist and extend fingers frequently.

_______ Remove dressing in _______ days. Cover with light dressings or Band-Aid.
_______ Leave dressing or splint in place until seen in the office.
_______ May shower after dressing is removed. No immersion in water until seen in office.
_______ May place Ice Pack to dressing 24 – 48 hours after surgery: 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
_______ Sling for comfort/ at all times / until full control of arm has returned.
_______ Call to schedule your follow-up appointment for _____ days after surgery.
_______ You will start hand therapy in ______ days.

Please Watch for these Problems:

      • Pain which increases in intensity despite your pain medication.
      • Swelling in your fingers which is not relieved by elevating your hand.
      • Numbness or tingling in the fingers that was not present before surgery. Please be aware that if you had a regional block by the anesthesiologist you may have numbness and lack of motor function in your extremity 8 – 12 hours after surgery.
      • The fingertips turn blue or white instead of a normal pink color.
      • Redness and warmth in the finger or hand or redness spreading up the arm.
      • If the cast breaks or comes off.

If you notice any of these problems, please contact our office at (615) 896-6800.