The following links have general post surgical information. The instructions you were given by the physician or surgical center may differ from these instructions and would be more specific to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the office directly at 850-916-8480

Pre-operative Instructions

Pre-Operative Instructions

Please do not eat or drink the night before surgery or in the morning (this includes coffee, gum,

and candy). Not following these instructions may result in the anesthesiologist cancelling your

case. Medicines that have been approved can be taken with a “sip” of water only.

• Please ask all questions before getting to the preoperative area as much will be asked of

you at that time and it is common to forget.

• If you do have questions about the surgery or the post-operative care, PLEASE write

them down and bring them with you. This way they won’t be missed.

• PLEASE TAKE AN INDELIBLE MARKER AND WRITE YES ON THE BODY

PART YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE SURGERY ON. If it is a finger, mark that

finger, arm or leg mark the spot for surgery. It is not necessary to mark no on the

non-operative side.

• Please make sure you bring someone with you.

• The hospital or surgery center should contact you at least 24-48 hours prior to surgery. If

you have not been contacted by the afternoon prior to surgery, please contact the office.

• If there are any questions about medications to take prior to surgery, please contact the

hospital or surgery center where your surgery will take place. It is the determination of

the anesthesia provider what should or should not be taken.

• Medications that thin your blood may need to be stopped for a period of time prior to

surgery. Please contact the office if you are on one of the following medications:

o Plavix

o Coumadin

o Aspirin

o NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, Naproxen, etc.)

• If you are taking Herbal supplements or weight loss medicines, it may take 3 weeks

before the anesthesiologist will perform an anesthetic. Please be honest as these

drugs can be deadly in combination with anesthesia.

• When in doubt, please ask.

Post-operative Instructions

General Arm Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.
  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin.  If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.
  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

General Hand Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from the surgical anesthetic usually lasts about 6 hours, although it could be longer.
  • You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak (no dishes, hot tubs) or immerse in the water.
  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be very difficult, don’t push it.
  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin, or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat and the wound will get macerated and open up.
  • Band aids are okay, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.
  • Any redness, increased heat, and of course anything that looks like an infection required you to call us to be evaluated.
  • You may have been given a prescription for pain medication. This should be taken as directed by your physician.
  • If you do not have a follow up appointment, please call for an appointment.

Surgery for Fractures and Dislocations

  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.
  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin.  If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.
  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

Thumb Arthritis Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24 hours. If you had a block or catheter, it may be longer.
  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.
  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. Your thumb will be in the splint. You should move the fingers, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin.  If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.
  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.
  • Often, I will have set up therapy for you before you are scheduled to return to the office. It is important to go to this appointment. Please call our office if you are unable to make your therapy appointment(s).
  • It is going to take a long time for your hand and thumb to be normal again. There is no way to speed up the healing process. In addition, your thumb/hand wasn’t normal to begin with. Muscles and strength are gone due to long standing arthritis. The best thing to do is to protect the surgery and follow the therapist’s direction. You may actually have to re-learn how to do things again.
  • Please call the office if you have any questions or concerns.

Trigger Finger Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours. I have seen it last up to 48 hours though as I

use a long acting anesthetic.

  • You will have a coban dressing.
  • On post op day 3 it is OK to remove the bandages entirely. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak or immerse in water (no dishes, hot tubs, etc).
  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.
  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat and the wound will get macerated and open up.
  • Band aids are OK, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

DeQuervain’s Release / Ganglion Cyst Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours.
  • You will have a coban dressing and a removable splint. The splint can be readjusted and even removed but should be on when you are doing even light activities, going out, and sleeping.
  •  You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak or immerse in water (no dishes, hot tubs, etc).
  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.
  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything. Wear it when you are out and about and to sleep.
  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat and the wound will get macerated and open up.
  • Band aids are OK, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

Carpal Tunnel Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6 hours. I have seen it last up to 48 hours though as I use a long acting anesthetic.
  • You will have a coban dressing and a removable splint. The splint can be readjusted and even removed but should be on when you are doing even light activities, going out, and sleeping.
  • On post op day 5 it is OK to remove the bandages entirely. You can wash with soapy water, but do not soak or immerse in water (no dishes, hot tubs, etc).
  • I want you to move your fingers freely, just don’t lift anything more than a pound or two.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.
  • The splint is a reminder to not lift anything. Wear it when you are out and about and to sleep.
  • Do not use over the counter salves, Neosporin, Bacitracin or other ointments on the wound. Hands and fingers sweat and the wound will get macerated and open up.
  • Band aids are OK, but make sure to let the incision “breathe” as it will heal much faster with air.
  • It is normal to have any type of nerve symptom. Numbness, increased/decreased feeling, increased/decreased temperature, shooting electrical impulses or nothing. The abnormal feelings can take some time to go away. The nerve is damaged before we start and surgery will irritate it. Healing of the nerve can actually take up to 6 months in severe cases.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.

Ulnar Nerve Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24 hours. I have seen it last up to 48 hours though as I use a long acting anesthetic. If you had a block or catheter, it may be longer.
  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.
  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin.  If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.
  • It is normal to have any type of nerve symptom. Numbness, increased/decreased feeling, increased/decreased temperature, shooting electrical pulses, or nothing. The abnormal feelings can take some time to go away. The nerve is damaged before we start and surgery will irritate it. Healing of the nerve can actually take 6-12 months in severe cases. Nerves actually regrow at 1mm per day. That is an inch per month. Sometimes if the compression is severe, the nerve actually will regrow from the elbow down to the hand.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.
  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.
  • When you return to the office, I will take the splint off. You will be provided with a small cock-up wrist splint. The may be counterintuitive as it goes over the wrist. It is protecting the repair of the wrist flexors and the large wrist pronator muscle at the elbow. It usually takes about 6 weeks for this to heal enough for light activity without the splint.
  • By three months there are no limits on activity (lifting weights, heavy work, etc.) except in unusual cases.

Wrist Arthroscopy and TFCC Surgery

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24 hours if you have had a block. If you have a catheter, it may be longer.
  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.
  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin.  If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.
  • If you had surgery on your dominant hand, writing will be difficult. Don’t push it.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.
  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.
  • If we had to repair the TFCC, the elbow will be immobilized for a total of 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, limited motion with a splint will be allowed. By 8 weeks, full motion is allowed as long as there is no aggressive action or passive motion (sports, lifting weights, manual labor, etc.). I will want you to use your splint at this time only as a reminder to yourself and others that there is still something wrong.
  • It takes a TFCC at least 3 months to heal enough to play sports. It takes a Tommy John (elbow), shoulder, or ACL (knee) 9-12 months to return to sports. Remember this when you get frustrated.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

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  • Most of the time all of the dressings can be removed the second day after surgery. We use a lot of fluid to distend the shoulder joint and this may slowly leak out. Do not be alarmed. It is actually OK to change the dressing post op day one if needed.
  • It is OK to come out of your sling to shower (let the arm hang at your side). Do not lift your arm above your head unless we have told you it is OK to do so.
  • Do not soak in a tub (bath, hot tub, etc.)
  • Do not lift anything or use the surgery arm/hand unless we tell you it is OK.
  • If you had a rotator cuff repair or a SLAP repair, active motion of the shoulder is limited for the first 4-6 weeks depending on the nature of the repair.
  • We will take sutures out at about 7-10 days post op.
  • You may be asked to go to therapy after surgery. It is very important to go. If you are unable to attend PT for any reason, please let us know.
  • Use ice bags/packs a lot! It will help reduce swelling and pain quite a bit.
  • Please call if you have any questions or concerns.

Fractures and Dislocations

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • Keep the splint on. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Use a bag over it when showering or while taking a bath.
  • Most likely, your fingers will be free. You should move them, even if you use the other hand to move the fingers slowly to prevent them from becoming stiff.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • If you think the bandage or splint is too tight, it probably is. Please call us. It is OK to have someone help you unwrap the ace and rewrap it. The plaster splint underneath can also get dislodged. Remember, you were feeling nothing when it was put on, therefore there may be some pressure points that irritate the skin.  If you think there is a problem, please call us so we can get you in to change the splint.
  • Call us to be evaluated for any redness, increased heat or anything that looks like an infection.
  • An increase in pain days out from surgery usually means you are doing too much with the arm. If it continues despite rest, please call.

Tendon Repair

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  • Keep hand and arm elevated most of the time.
  • The numbness from surgery usually lasts about 6-24hours. If you had a block, it may be longer.
  • Keep the splint on.  It is important to keep it clean and dry.  Use a bag over it when showering or take a bath.
  • Do not try to make a fist.  Do not “try out” the tendon repair.  The tendons are sutured end to end.  Pulling on the end by moving the finger can cause the repair to fail.
  • Don’t lift anything with the affected hand.
  • You should have therapy set up.  It is important to go to this appointment.  Please call if you can’t make it.
  • If you do not have a therapy appointment,  please do not do anything with the affected hand unless instructed by us.
  • Any redness, increased heat, and of course anything that looks like an infection required you to call us to be evaluated.
  • It is going to take a long time for your hand and thumb to be normal again.  There is no way to speed up healing faster than your body will work on its own.  Tendon repairs are protected with a splint for 6 weeks.  That is a long time.  Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this up.  We do specific therapy depending on how far out from surgery you are.  Sometimes we will do “Place and Hold” and limited active or active assisted range of motion.  These are to be done with the therapist, under their direction.  More is not always better.
  • Under no circumstances are you to sleep without your splint in the first 6 weeks after surgery.  You have no control of yourself while asleep.
  • The goal with the first 6 weeks of therapy is to allow the tendon to heal with the least amount of adhesions, maintaining as much normal motion as possible.
  • All splinting should be done by 6 weeks.  Sometimes, you will need to wear it for high risk activities (crowds, work, etc.).
  • Therapy can last up to 3 months.
  • It is not unusual to have a second surgery to loosen the tendon.  There will be NO immobilization or splint after a second surgery as motion is key and the tendon will be healed.
  • Any questions– PLEASE ASK as these are tough.