POST OPERATIVE INFORMATION
Post Surgery Guidelines:
- You may have had a local or nerve block (local anaesthetic) that takes away all the sensation and pain in the operated area. Please note that this block is worked out after 8-12 hours. Even if no pain is experienced, it is worth taking two anti-inflammatories (like Mybulen/Myprodol) before going to bed or when sensation returns.
- After certain trauma (non-scheduled) cases, oral antibiotics will be prescribed. Please comply with the prescription regulations. It is usually advisable to complete a course of five days.
- Please continue your blood thinning and/or any other chronic medication when you are discharged.
- It is advised to keep the operated hand/arm elevated for the first night after the operation. In the hospital, it will be elevated in a sling. At home, you can simply elevate it on a pillow and ensure it is elevated above the level of your heart. This will allow gravity to drain any fluid and prevent an accumulation of fluid in the hand.
- Your most important duty is to keep the wound dry until you are seen in the practice again. This will promote wound healing and prevent post-operative infection. You will be provided with a long glove that will keep the cast dry when showering. Please consult the practice if your wound gets wet. We would rather view it sooner than later.
- Your post operative cast or dressing should remain in place until your follow up appointment. Please do not remove it.
- Smoking significantly delays all wound healing, bone union, tendon and nerve healing and is probably the most common cause for post-operative wound sepsis. It is strongly recommended to stop smoking or at very least cut down, while your wound heals.
- Make sure you have a follow-up date. It is usually just short of two weeks at which stage your wound will be examined in sterile conditions.
- You may require hand therapy and rehabilitation after your surgery. You will be advised accordingly.
- Pain is normal and expected. We try and take away the sting of surgical pain with anti-inflammatories and light opioids (Tramacet / Tramadol). Pain that should alert you to contact the practice is crescendo or worsening pain, especially if you have a limb cast, that is paired with severe swelling. All patients experience pain differently and my advice is not to suffer in silence or to be too brave. Rather take the analgesia prescribed, especially for the first 48 hours. This will ensure that the healing process is a happy and successful one.
- Movement is life: It is generally encouraged to start moving the fingers and thumb or wrist as soon as possible after the operation, unless it is purposefully splinted for protection. You will be advised accordingly. This is very important in nerve surgery like carpal tunnel release.
- With any nerve related procedures, it must be mentioned that an array of different sensations or symptoms might be experienced after the nerve has been freed or released. This is normal and should be anticipated. In long standing cases, relief can take months, and return to optimal function can take up to 18 months. The nerve tends to be almost hypersensitive when it has been released and “new” or “atypical” sensations e.g. pins and needles, electric shock type feelings, numbness and burning sensations, might be experienced for a few days whilst recovery takes place.
Please ask the practice if you have any questions, or check the website for further information regarding your condition or procedure.
We welcome feedback of your experience. The positive experience of fellow patients encourages other patients far more than anything I can say or do.