Hand surgery is the most invasive solution to hand pain or disability, and sometimes it’s the only solution. The field of hand surgery has made leaps and bounds in recent decades, as technology now allows doctors to use smaller and smaller instruments and, therefore, smaller incisions that must heal afterward.
If you have had or are going to have this procedure here in the Chicago North-West Suburbs, it’s a good idea to know what to expect during the recovery phase after hand surgery. The healing process takes time and patience, so knowing what to do should increase your chances of a total recovery and a successful outcome.
The following are the key factors in recovery after hand surgery:
The hand surgery will change some of the structures in your hand for the better, but it will take some time for you to get used to how your hand works now. Your physical therapist will explain how and when to use your hand and how much to rest it so it has time to heal after the operation.
One excellent way to help rehabilitate your hand is to keep moving the parts of it that weren’t directly affected by the surgery. This will help to keep the nearby muscles strong in the hand, which will naturally help strengthen the recovering areas as well. As a rule of thumb, if you start to feel pain, stop performing that movement.
Another standard self-care method during recovery from hand surgery is to keep the hand elevated as much as possible. The goal is to keep it just above the heart level, since this promotes the return of blood and other fluids away from the healing area and toward the heart for proper circulation. Doing this helps to facilitate drainage of the venous and lymphatic systems, thereby reducing swelling and accelerating healing.
Any wound has the potential of developing an infection, including after surgery. Opportunistic pathogens such as bacteria are everywhere, so it is important to protect your operated hand from germs.
After surgery, the medical staff will apply dressings around your hand to protect your wounds while you heal. The surgeon will give you specific instructions about keeping the area clean, and how and when they can be removed and replaced. Their first removal will be at the doctor’s office so they can check for any infections or swelling.
Don’t allow these dressings to get wet; otherwise, the moisture will make your incisions a breeding ground for bacteria. If you feel significant pain or are seeing an unusual discharge, consult your doctor immediately.
One mistake that patients commonly make after surgery here in the Chicago North-West Suburbs is that they fail to take their pain medications seriously. They might still feel okay, so they delay or skip taking their doses. However, this can cause you to suddenly experience significant pain.
Pain medications take a while to activate, since the body has to absorb and distribute the drug for it to take effect. For this reason, patients need to follow the prescribed dosage during their recovery.
Experienced Hand Surgeon in the Chicago North-West Suburbs
Good recovery practices when healing from hand surgery will help to reduce pain and swelling, prevent infections, and allow you to recover more quickly so you can use your hand normally again. Dr. Michele Y. Yoon and our entire medical team will guide you through every part of your hand treatment, from pre-operation through a successful recovery.
We are conveniently located for our Chicago North-West Suburb patients. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling (847) 957-4183 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to partnering with you in repairing your hand so you can regain total function again!