How Can We Help?
Download printable Upper Extremity Surgery Instructions
- Avoid making any major decisions for the next 24 hours.
- Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain.
- If you had local anesthesia or a nerve block for surgery, you will develop pain when the anesthetic medication wears off. Take some pain medication at the first sign that feeling is returning to the operated extremity.
- You may take Tylenol (acetaminophen) over the counter instead of the narcotic medication. However, if you take both, you must make sure the total amount of acetaminophen taken in 24 hours does not exceed 4 grams.
- Narcotic pain medications can constipate you. Take a laxative if you have not had a bowel movement within 24 hours after surgery.
- You may need an over the counter stool softener such as: Senokot, Senokot-S, Colace or Peri-Colace.
Care for the Operated Extremity
- Keep your dressing clean and dry.
- For bathing, cover the dressing with a plastic bag and secure it so water doesn’t drip into the bag.
- Keep your arm elevated above the level of your heart to decrease swelling.
- Avoid walking with your arm down by your side.
- You may apply ice to the operative site for 15-20 minutes at a time. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin.
It is Normal after Surgery to Experience the Following:
- Pain at the operative site. This is worst for the first 24-48 hours.
- Numbness, if local anesthesia or a nerve block was used.
- Small amount of blood on the dressing.
- Bruising on the operated extremity.
- Swelling of the operated extremity.
Call the Office for:
- Increased redness at the operative site.
- Increasing drainage from the wound.
- Temperature > 101.5 F.
- Increasing pain.
- Continued numbness > 24 hours following surgery.