POST-OPERATIVE HAND INSTRUCTIONS

THIS INFORMATION WILL HELP YOU IN YOUR RECOVERY AFTER YOUR HAND SURGERY. PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULY. FEEL FREE TO ASK THE NURSES AND DOCTORS ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT YOUR RECOVERY AT HOME. YOU WILL RECEIVE FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS AT YOUR NEXT DOCTORS VISIT.

1. Keep your bandages clean and dry. When bathing, securely cover your arm with a plastic bag or sponge bathe until you see the doctor or therapist.
2. Keep the hand that was operated on elevated higher than your elbow for the next 48 to 72 hours to control swelling. If swelling continues, keep your hand elevated until you speak with your doctor.
3. Rest the day of your surgery. You may increase your activity the next day at a slow, comfortable rate.
4. Check your fingers every four hours. They should be warm and pink.
5. Take your temperature in the morning and in the evening for the next seven days. Call your doctor if your temperature is 100F or higher.
6. Apply an icepack intermittently (twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off) for at least 48-72 hours to reduce swelling. Continue using the ice if it is helpful. Do not put ice directly on your skin.
7. Do not remove the bandages until you are seen by your doctor. You may experience some bleeding for the first 24 hours after surgery. You may add layers of gauze to small areas of bleeding. If your dressings become soaked with blood, PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE (925) 463-0470 BEFORE 5:00 pm TO SPEAK TO the Patient Care Coordinator for your doctor.
8. Pain is normal during the early post-operative period. Take your pain medicine as directed as soon as the pain begins. Use pain medication only as needed. Ice and elevation also help to alleviate pain. If you are experiencing a throbbing sensation and swelling, your bandage may be too tight. In this case you may remove the outer covering or ace bandage and rewrap it more loosely. If the pain does not improve within one hour, PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE (925) 463-0470 BEFORE 5:00 pm TO SPEAK TO the Patient Care Coordinator for your doctor. After hours, please dial (925) 463-0470 the recording will tell you if this is urgent to please press O for the operator. The answering service will connect you to the doctor on call.
9. A common side effect of pain medication is nausea. Nausea will be less if you are less active. If you experience a rash, swelling in your mouth or throat, or vomiting, stop your medications and call your physician.
10. Do not use the hand that was operated on to lift, push or pull without your doctors’ permission.
11. Move your fingers of the hand that was operated on within the limits of your bandage or cast several times a day.
12. You should not drive with a splinted or bandaged hand or while taking pain medication.
13. You may feel some numbness and tingling in your fingers and hand (similar to when you receive Novocain from the dentist) as the anesthesia wears off.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO:

1. Always keep your hand and fingers elevated above your elbow.
2. Use the sling until your arm no longer feels numb from the anesthesia.
3. You do not need to wear the sling, but do remember to elevate your hand and fingers above your elbow.
4. Remove your sling 4-6 times a day to exercise your shoulder and elbow and prevent stiffness.

Please call the doctors’ office at (925) 463-0470 please press O for the operator if you notice any of the following symptoms:
1. Body temperature over 100F.
2. Redness, warmth, increased pain or tenderness, drainage or foul odor from your dressing.
3. Your fingers or hand become blue, pale or cold.
4. Some numbness or tingling in your hand or fingers is normal after anesthesia. However, if numbness or tingling occurs with changes in color or temperature of your hand or fingers, call your doctor.

When instructed by your physician, see the Six Pack Hand Exercises.

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