What to Expect After Hand Surgery? cover

What to Expect After Hand Surgery?

Recovery from hand and upper limb surgery can take 2 to 4 months, depending on the type of procedure and the underlying condition that resulted in the surgery. Sometimes you may need more than one surgery to correct the problem. Keep reading to find out what you can expect from hand surgery. 

What Can You Expect After Hand Surgery?

Many surgeries involving the hands or upper limbs require you to take a break from repetitive activities and wear a protective splint. Following hand surgery, the doctor will likely wrap your hand, wrist and forearm in a heavy dressing and may also include a splint as part of the dressing. 

A splint covers only the surgical area leaving enough room for swelling. Depending on the procedure’s extent, your plastic surgeon may ask you to make an appointment to change the dressing or swap it after a few days. 

Getting hand surgery means only one thing – you want to resolve an underlying condition like carpal tunnel syndrome or an injury. Because of that, discomfort after surgery is normal. The pain level differs from person to person but usually decreases after a few days. To manage the pain, sleep with your arm propped on a pillow or use ice packs when at rest. 

Trigger finger disease (locking finger or stenosing tenosynovitis disorder), hand anatomy with highlight on painful area. Patient has palm pain and catching of finger problem. Medical symptom concept
trigger finger

How Can You Optimise Your Recovery After Hand Surgery?

Like with every surgery, your recovery will depend on what you do after your procedure. To optimise your recovery:

  • Ensure that your dressings are dry and clean; take showers rather than baths, making sure your dressings don’t come into contact with water. 
  • Sleep with the affected hand elevated on a pillow to minimise swelling and pain for 3 to 5 days.
  • Tell your doctor if you experience numbness and a tingling sensation that lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids.
  • Take your pain medication as prescribed.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Hand Surgery?

What is the ideal hand surgery recovery time? Recovery varies from one person to another depending on the type of surgery and severity of the condition. Since each case is unique, hand surgery can be a delicate process. 

For instance, if you are recovering from surgery to repair a torn tendon, it can take up to 12 weeks for your hand to regain full strength and up to 6 months to regain full mobility. Other surgeries can take 6 to 14 weeks. 

Your doctor may recommend intensive rehabilitation or hand therapy to regain optimal hand functioning. Rehabilitation may involve specialised hand exercises. When it comes to pain, while most people experience some soreness and discomfort, the correct medication can alleviate these. For minor surgery such as trigger finger or carpal tunnel surgery, over-the-counter medications or painkillers should help with the pain and discomfort. 

If you are tired of living with wrist or hand pain, hand surgery may help alleviate the symptoms. However, ensure you choose an expert plastic surgeon to perform the procedure. 

Book an appointment today at the Harley Clinic to discuss your options. 

If you’re interested in reading about the latest cosmetic surgery news, check out our ultimate guide on Plastic Surgery Statistics

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