HAND AND NERVE SURGERY : POST OPERATIVE CARE
Did you just have hand or arm surgery? Here are a few general instructions to follow after your operation.
Applying an ice pack directly to the area of post-operative dressing will reduce inflammation and swelling at the surgical site. It is normal to experience some swelling within the first 2 weeks after surgery. This is why ice is a great option especially for the first few days after surgery to not only bring down swelling, but prevent further swelling in the future. ( Alternating between Ice and Heat after 3 days helps too!)
Heat can be used to alleviate pain 3 days after your surgery. Apply the heat to sore area for 15- 20 minutes at a time. Heat enlarges the blood vessels creating an increase in blood flow. Increased blood flow allows our body to flush out the chemicals that cause pain. Heat can also aid in reducing muscle spasms.
Elevate your arm at or above your heart. This will bring down the swelling by reducing the blood flow to the area of operation. Try lying flat on your back with your hand resting on a few pillows for maximum comfort. After having surgery, the hand/arm should be elevated for at least 3 days.
Postoperative dressing should be left intact until visiting your doctor within 10-14 days post-surgery. If swelling is occurring in the fingers and is NOT responding to ice or elevation, loosening the outer ace bandage or dressing can bring relief. For some procedures (trigger finger, carpal tunnel, ganglion cyst) you can change your dressing three days after surgery you feel comfortable doing so properly. A new dressing may need to be applied to the wound on the third day after surgery. Do not get your wound wet until seven days after surgery. Do not immerse the wound in water.