Most hand conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and hand arthritis, improve with nonsurgical treatments. However, if it doesn’t, and the symptoms disrupt a patient’s daily living, their doctor may recommend hand surgery.
When it comes to getting treatment for hand problems, make sure to choose one that is experienced in non-surgical and surgical treatments. Below you will find the most frequently asked questions about hand surgery.
What Are Signs That I Need Hand Surgery?
Persistent pain and loss of function — difficulty gripping and dropping things — are signs you need hand surgery. We rely so much on our hands, and loss of function can be severely disruptive.
What Happens Before, During, and After Hand Surgery?
It is important to have this talk with your doctor. Surgery, no matter how minimally invasive, is still a huge undertaking. Depending on the procedure, you may have to stop eating or drinking by midnight before your surgery day. Hand surgery requires anesthesia, and it may cause complications if you’ve had a meal close to the surgery. Medication such as aspirin and anti-inflammatories need to be stopped a week before surgery as these can cause increased bleeding during surgery.
What happens during the surgery depends on the procedure. Ask your doctor about what happens during the surgery, so you will know what to expect. Minimally-invasive (arthroscopic or endoscopic) hand surgeries usually require very small incisions and miniature tools.
After hand surgery, your hand will be in a dressing. The doctor will give detailed instructions on how to care for it and how to keep it clean and dry. They will also prescribe pain medication for a comfortable recovery. To reduce swelling, keep your hand elevated above the heart level. You may apply ice to relieve swelling. To prevent stiffness in your arm and shoulders, the doctor will assign a physical therapist to your care to teach you a range of exercises.
How Can I Improve Surgical Outcomes?
Following doctor’s orders and doing your physical therapy exercises help improve surgical outcomes. After surgery, doctors usually recommend wiggling the fingers (depending on the surgery) to get the blood going. Stiffness is a risk that physical therapy can alleviate.
When Do I Return to Normal?
If you’ve had arthroscopic or endoscopic hand surgery, recovery is typically quick. Usually, patients can return to normal activities in about four weeks. You should be able to shower, eat, drive, and work provided – it’s a desk job and not manual. It is always possible for recovery to take longer, depending on the procedure. A doctor can give you a definite answer on how long recovery takes for someone with your specific condition who undergoes the procedure.
Hand Surgeon in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach & Boca Raton, FL
Dr. Steven Meadows of South Palm Orthopedics is a board-certified hand surgeon with over 25 years of experience treating patients with hand problems. He can restore function to your hand, so you can use it pain-free once again. If you are concerned about pain, we offer a wide range of pain management techniques for greater comfort. To make an appointment with Dr. Meadows, call the South Palm Orthopedics clinic at (561) 496-6622 or use our online request form.