PATIENT DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS
The following instructions will help you recover from your surgery:
Pain & Swelling
Use a pillow to raise your hand above your heart level using as many pillows as needed. Do this as much as possible for the first few days, including during sleep.
You may have been given a nerve block in the arm to control your pain. Numbness may last up to 24 hours. When your arm is awake, exercise your shoulder and elbow (if allowed) frequently.
If you have a sling, use it to hold your arm up when you are walking around for the first few days. Using a sling does not provide proper elevation of the arm to prevent swelling.
If your fingers are free in your dressing, practice making a fist 4-5 times daily to prevent stiffness. If your dressing does not include the elbow, straighten and bend the elbow 4-5 times daily to prevent stiffness.
Apply ice packs to the surgical area for the first few days to reduce swelling.
** YOU MAY NEED TO VISIT SEVERAL PHARMACIES TO OBTAIN YOUR PAIN MEDICATIONS DUE TO NEW REGULATIONS. This is beyond our control.
** DO NOT WAIT FOR THE NERVE BLOCK TO WEAR OFF TO START YOUR PAIN MEDICATIONS.
** START TAKING YOUR PAIN MEDICATIONS REGULARLY WHEN YOU GET HOME.
- Follow instructions for use of your medications as discussed or printed on the bottle. If prescribed IBUPROFEN, take this three times a day (with meals) for the next few days. If you still have pain, then take the narcotic medication (if prescribed). If pain is minimal, you may take non-prescription, non-aspirin medications, following the instructions on the label for dosing.
- Take antibiotics (if prescribed) as directed.
Bandages & Arm Dressings
Your dressing/splint/cast should be kept dry when bathing or showering. If your dressing or splint becomes soaked, you should contact the office.
Unless instructed otherwise, do not remove your own dressing or splint.
Activity & Driving
Limit your activity – no strenuous exercise or sports. You may walk, climb stairs, etc…
Do NOT drive while taking narcotics/opiates (ie: Vicodin/Norco/Percocet/Hydrocodone/Oxycodone).
Do NOT drive for 24 hours after you have had anesthesia.
Do NOT operate heavy machinery or power tools for 24 hours after you have had anesthesia.
Do NOT make any important decisions for 24 hours after you have had anesthesia.
Eating & Drinking
You may resume your normal diet.
When to call your Surgeon
If you experience any of the following:
– Excessive bleeding on the dressing
– Excessive non-bloody wound drainage beyond the first 3-4 days
– Excess swelling, coldness, paleness, or blue color of fingers (compare to your other hand)
– Nausea or vomiting that lasts more than 1 day
– Pain not relieved with pain medications
– Numbness or tingling of the hand that lasts more than 1 day
– Fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
Then you should call the office during regular business hours, or the Answering Service after business hours at (877) 454-2400 or (586) 446-3360.
Alternatively, please present to your nearest Urgent Care facility or Emergency Department for urgent concerns.
If you have not been given an office appointment for after surgery, please contact the office the next business day to schedule. Most patients will be scheduled to be seen WITHIN ONE WEEK after surgery.