Melbourne Hand Surgery

Post operative instructions

I endeavour to make the post operative experience comfortable and anxiety-free for my patients. If you have elective surgery with Melbourne Hand Surgery you will receive written instructions that are specific for you regarding your after sugery care. This page gives general advice and instructions on what to do, what not to do and what you can expect after hand surgery.

  • Please keep your hand elevated at or above the level of your heart for at least 48 hours after surgery. This reduces swelling, improves pain and speeds your healing. Avoid activities that put you at risk of injuring your hand.
  • You must keep your dressings dry and on until review. Do not change your dressings unless you have been specifically instructed to do so.
  • When showering please place a plastic bag over your dressings and keep your hand elevated. If you need to apply additional tape to secure a loose bandage please do so. Only remove your splint or plaster if you have been specifically instructed to do so by a hand therapist or surgeon.
  • During hand surgery we usually administer local anaesthetic to your hand to minimise pain. Commonly this results in numbness to part of your hand for 6-24 hours. When the local anaesthetic wears off it is common to experience some throbbing, discomfort or pain.
  • Take the pain medications that you have been prescribed so that you are comfortable.
  • If you have minimal pain once the local anaesthetic wears off you do not need to keep taking pain medications.
  • If you have been prescribed antibiotics you should take the course until finished, unless you develop significant side effects (such as vomiting, severe diarrhoea, a significant rash or swelling not related to your hand surgery).
  • We encourage early movement of after surgery as this speeds recovery. However, you must not move any joints that are immobilised with a splint unless specifically instructed to do so by your hand therapist and surgeon.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to the fingers by 42% and reduces healing.
  • Do not drive until you have been advised that it is safe to do so.
If you need to contact us during business hours please phone 9427 9596. If you need to contact Dr Tomlinson urgently after hours please phone Epworth Hospital Switchboard on 9426 6666 and ask to be put through to Dr Jill Tomlinson on her mobile phone.
 
Symptoms of concern that should encourage you to seek urgent medical attention include severe pain, change of colour of your fingers (purple, blue, white), sudden loss of movement of your hand, bleeding, excessive swelling, overly tight bandage/splint, signs of infection (fever, discharge, offensive odour, increasing pain), and uncontrolled nausea or vomiting.
 
If you have any questions please ask!
 
If you think of other information that we should include here please let us know.
 
FRACS

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