Post-Op Care

BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOSPITAL:

You should have received discharge paperwork. Please remember to double check your rooms for any personal belongings. The hospital does not take responsibility for lost/misplaced personal items.

 WHILE YOU ARE AT HOME

  • Use ice as instructed to reduce swelling and pain
  • Use pain medication to assist in controlling pain as directed
  • Care for your incision as instructed
  • Perform rehabilitation exercises as instructed
  • Take stool softeners while on pain medication to prevent constipation

WITHIN 1-2 WEEKS AFTER YOUR DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL:

You should follow up in the surgeon's office according to his/her recommendations but is typically within 2 weeks after surgery.

2-3 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY:     

You should have an appointment with your surgeon. You can expect:

  • Prescriptions to be given if additional pain medication is needed
  • Prescription to be given for outpatient physical therapy, if needed

Caring For Yourself at Home

When you go home, there are a variety of things you need to know for your safety, your recovery, and your comfort.

Control your discomfort

  • Take the narcotic pain medication as ordered but keep in mind that it works best if taken before the pain is severe.
  • Gradually wean yourself from prescription medication to non-prescription pain reliever. You may take two extra-strength Tylenol doses in places of your prescription medication up to four times per day. Do not take Tylenol along with any other prescription narcotic medication unless you check with a pharmacist as many narcotics have Tylenol included.
  • You may also be given a prescription for a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which controls pain and swelling, and should be taken as directed
  • It may be necessary to take a stool softener (such as Colace) while you are taking narcotic pain medication in order to prevent consitpation.

Dressings:

  • Remove your dressing as instructed by your surgeon. Do not remove the adhesive skin closure strips (steri-strips) if present. You may cover the small portal sites with a band-aid or dry gauze pad.
  • You may shower but will need to follow your specific surgeon's recommendations for care of the incision while showering.
  • It is not uncommon to have some bleeding visible on your dressing after surgery. If this seems to be increase or if you have concerns about the amount of bleeding, please call the surgeon's office.

Activity:

  • Keep your arm at the side for showering and clothing changes.
  • Wear your sling at all times except when showering, dressing, or doing your recommended exercises.
  • Do no lift more than 3 lbs.
  • Remove your sling to move your wrist and elbow at least four times daily.
  • You may drive when cleared by your surgeon

Ice therapy:

  • If you have a cold therapy unit, use as directed until you are seen in the office.
    • Wear it over your clothing regularly for 2 days.
    • Change the water every 4 hours while awake.
    • After 2 days, wear the cold therapy unit at least twice daily for 20 minutes.
  • If you do not have a cold therapy unit, use ice over your clothing at least 4-5 times daily for 20 minutes at each time, or as directed by your physician.