Recovering from Hand Surgery: What Patients Should Know
At Lake Country Plastic & Hand Surgery, our goal is to help restore the use and function of the hand/wrist after a patient has undergone surgery. Even though the particulars of a hand surgery can vary, the team at our Milwaukee, WI area practice want to promote wellness as patients recover.
With this in mind, we would like to go over some of the basics of post-op recovery for hand surgery patients. This will give you some idea of what to expect and how to prepare for your recovery period.
How Much Time Will I Need Off from Work?
The amount of time you will need off from work can vary depending on the nature of your initial injury, the extent and nature of the surgery performed, and the nature of your profession. Some patients may require just a few days off from work, while other patients may need a week or more.
We can discuss the right option for you during the consultation process. Keep in mind that you may need to avoid certain duties at your job or adapt your duties to account for the limited use of your hand.
Common Surgical Side Effects
There are a number of surgical side effects that commonly occur after hand surgery. They include:
- Pain and discomfort
These side effects can be addressed by following post-op instructions provided by your surgeon. In general, prescription or over-the-counter pain medications can be used to address any post-op discomfort. Elevation and cold compresses can be used to help with bruising and swelling.
Activities to Avoid
While recovering from hand surgery of any kind, be sure to avoid the following activities:
- Smoking/use of tobacco products
- Consuming alcoholic beverages
- Taking blood-thinning medications
- Putting weight on the hand
- Strenuous physical activities
You’ll be able to resume many of these activities after about a week to two weeks, though use of your hand may still be limited for the weeks to come. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter to help avoid surgical complications.
Wearing Your Brace/Cast
In order to ensure full recovery in a timely manner, hand surgery patients are instructed to wear a splint or brace. This brace should be worn at all times as instructed to stabilize the hand and wrist as the patient heals. Most times the brace is worn for a few weeks just to ensure the hand/wrist has recovered enough from the procedure before it’s allowed to move.
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
As part of the healing process, patients will undergo physical therapy a few weeks after surgery has been performed. This will help restore strength to the hand following surgery, and eventually help restore mobility and use to the hand with time.
How Much of My Hand Use Will Be Restored?
This can vary from surgery to surgery. With that said, the goal of any hand surgery is to restore as much use to a patient’s hand as possible. We hope to completely restore one’s ability to at least perform basic tasks that involve their hand following a surgical procedure.