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The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

Hand Surgery Recovery: What Patients Should Know

By Stuart Baker on January 01, 2018

A woman holding her hand at the wristThe Center for Cosmetic Medicine offers more than just anti-aging and wrinkle reduction procedures. The team also performs wrist and hand surgery, helping patients in the greater Champaign, IL area experience restore use of an injured limb.

Recovering from a hand or wrist procedure can take time. We'd like to offer an overview of the healing process after undergoing hand or wrist surgery.

How Much Time Should I Take Off from Work?

The amount of time you'll need off from work can vary depending on what surgery you've undergone and the nature of your occupation. Some people will be able to return to work within a week after surgery so long as they avoid putting pressure on their hand or wrist, while other patients may want to take additional time off to allow the hand/wrist to heal more.

During the consultation process, we will offer a recommendation with regard to taking time off from work and what duties you may want to refrain from when you return to your job.

Activities to Avoid

After hand surgery, it's important that you avoid the following activities in order to ensure full and problem-free recovery without complications:

  • Smoking and use of tobacco products
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Strenuous physical activities
  • Heavy lifting
  • Taking blood thinners

You'll be able to return to these activities partway into the recovery/healing process based on your surgeon's discretion.

Wear Your Brace/Splint as Directed

To keep your hand, wrist, and/or fingers stabilized after surgery, patients will be asked to wear a brace or splint. This will restrict the movement of the operated part of the body, helping the structures that were worked on to heal faster. Be sure to wear the brace as directed by your surgeon, and to keep it on as your are in the process of healing.

Common Post-Op Side Effects

Following surgery on the hand, wrist, or fingers, patients may experience some of the following side effects:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Numbness

These side effects are all normal and should fade on their own, with improvements from day to day and week to week. Taking pain medications and using cold compresses as directed can help manage these side effects in the early days and weeks of recovery.

Attend Follow-Up Visits as Directed

As you are healing after surgery, you will have a few follow-up visits with your surgeon in order to monitor your progress. Be sure to attend these visits as scheduled and to discuss any questions or concerns that arise as part of your recovery.

If you notice any issues come up between visits, feel free to contact the practice to discuss these concerns so they can be addressed as soon as possible.

Physical Therapy to Restore Hand Strength and Full Use

A few weeks after your hand/wrist surgery, you will likely begin physical therapy. This will be done to restore the strength, use, and range of motion to your hand. The amount of physical therapy you'll need will vary depending on the nature of your procedure and the type of surgery that was performed.

How Long Does a Full Recovery Take?

Full recovery from a hand or wrist surgery takes time. For example, a fracture in the hand or wrist can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 14 weeks to heal. If a tendon is surgically repaired, it can take 12 weeks to heal and a few months of physical therapy to restore the full range of motion to your hand.

As part of the recovery process, we will offer an estimated treatment timeline so you know what's ahead. Additionally, we can offer assessments of your recovery with each follow-up visit, giving you an idea of how you are progressing.

Contact The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

If you would like to learn more about healing after hand surgery and what can be done to improve recovery times, contact an experienced hand surgeon today. Dr. Stuart Baker and his team will answer all of your questions and address your concerns as they arise.

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