These instructions are to compliment the information given by the nursing staff and physical therapists. They may cover many of the common questions.

Wound care

  • Dressings are to be kept clean and dry. A small amount of clear drainage or bleeding is normal. If the ace wrap feels too tight, you may loosen it and re-wrap it.
  • You may remove the ace bandage and dressing on the third day following surgery. Dressing may be removed all the way down to the stitches. Please leave the stitches intact. You may re-cover them with 4x4 gauze pads or a large Band-Aid.
  • You may get the incision wet when showering 3 days after surgery. The shower should be brief and the wound patted dry with a clean towel. No baths or soaking the incision until 2-3 weeks after surgery and scabs are absent.
  • If purulent drainage (thick, white or greenish in color) is coming from the wound, or the wound has increased redness, or if you are having a temperature of 101°F or higher, please report these symptoms to your surgeon or the doctor on call.

Pain and swelling

  • To lessen pain and swelling, ice your hand for the first 1-3 days after surgery. Put the ice in a zip lock bag or towel and place over the surgical site. We recommend 20 minutes, 4-5 times per day, Do not place ice or ice packs directly on the skin as this may cause damage to the skin if on for long periods of time.
  • Narcotic pain medication will be prescribed for use after you leave the hospital. Try to wean down as tolerated. These medications can cause constipation and you may want to use an over- the-counter stool softener. Tylenol products may be used instead of the prescribed pain medication. The prescribed narcotic medications should not be taken at the same time as plain Tylenol. You may supplement you pain mediation by using ibuprofen or Aleve for any breakthrough pain. It can help to stagger your pain medication with ibuprofen or Aleve as needed. If a refill of medication is needed, please call the office during normal business hours, Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm. In general, refills will not be made after hours or on weekends, so please plan ahead.
  • Swelling to some degree is common after surgery. To reduce swelling, elevation is very helpful; elevate the hand above the heart level for the first 2-5 days after surgery. Elevation for 30 minutes every 2 hours is a good initial recommendation. Excessive pain and swelling should be reported tp your surgeon.