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Hand surgery Brisbane

How to best prepare for hand surgery?
Having hand surgery can be a significant event. It requires getting ready both in body and mind. No matter if you’re fixing an ongoing problem or healing from a recent injury, it’s really important to know what’s going to happen and how to get ready for it. This guide will help you understand what to expect before your hand surgery so you best prepare yourself for the day of your operation and beyond.

Hand surgery Brisbane

What you need to know before hand surgery

Type of admission

Most hand surgeries are outpatient day surgery.

  • This means you will be admitted to the hospital or surgical centre, undergo the hand procedure, and then be discharged to recover at home, all within the same day.
  • These outpatient hand surgeries typically require you to be at the facility for several hours, encompassing pre-surgery preparation, the operation itself, and post-surgery recovery until you are safe to be discharged.

Some hand surgery operations require an overnight stay.

  • This is often the case for more complex hand surgery procedures that require close postoperative monitoring to manage pain, prevent complications, and begin the rehabilitation process under medical supervision.

Fasting instructions

  • It’s crucial to fast before your surgery. If you don’t stick to the fasting guidelines, your surgery will have to be postponed.
  • You shouldn’t have any food or beverages (water is the exception) after midnight or as directed in the pre surgical email or correspondence.
  • Last drink allowed is half a cup (100ml) of plain water which can be had up to 4 hours prior to your surgery time.

Medication instructions

When preparing for hand surgery, adjusting your current medication routine is often necessary. Some medications can affect your surgery and recovery process, so it’s important to discuss your medications with your hand surgeon or anaesthetist ahead of time. Here’s an overview of medications and supplements we typically will ask you to pause:

  • Blood thinners: Medications that prevent blood clotting, like aspirin, may need to be stopped to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.
  • Anti-Inflammatory drugs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may also be paused, as they can affect blood clotting.
  • Supplements: Some over-the-counter supplements and herbal remedies can have an impact on surgery outcomes. For instance, vitamin E, fish oil, and certain herbal supplements can increase bleeding risk.

This will be explained during consultation and we will give you specific instructions based on your individual circumstances. We’ll also discuss the timing for when to stop taking these medications.

Jewellery and nail care

  • It’s strongly advised to remove all rings before your hand surgery. Rings can conceal signs of infection and may become a problem since fingers often swell during and after surgery, potentially cutting off circulation. If you find that a ring is too tight to remove comfortably, consider visiting a jeweller to have it cut or stretched. While we do have tools to remove rings in a medical setting, they may damage your jewellery.
  • Maintaining clean and short fingernails is also important in the lead-up to your surgery. Clean nails help prevent the risk of infection. Additionally, please remove any artificial nails and nail polish. This is not only for hygiene reasons but also because clear visibility of your natural nails can be crucial for monitoring your health during the procedure.

Anaesthetics in Hand surgery

Understanding anaesthesia before hand surgery

When you’re getting ready for hand surgery, knowing about the anaesthesia – what helps you sleep and keeps you pain-free during the procedure -is key. Here’s a simple breakdown of what you might expect:

General anaesthesia

  • General anaesthesia is commonly used in hand surgery. It’s the type that puts you completely to sleep, so you won’t feel anything during the operation.
  • The anaesthetist will give you medication through an IV and possibly some gas to breathe in, ensuring you are asleep and comfortable throughout the hand surgery procedure.

Regional block

  • Alongside general anaesthesia, you might also have a regional block. This is a special type of anaesthesia that numbs a larger area of your body – like your entire arm.
  • The anaesthetist injects medication near the nerves that control feeling in that area. Even after you wake up, that part of your body stays numb for a while, helping manage pain after the surgery.

What this means for you

  • Before surgery: You’ll meet with the anaesthetist to talk about your health history and the best plan for you.
  • Safety: Both general anaesthesia and regional blocks are safe and commonly used. The medical team will monitor you closely.
  • After surgery: Thanks to the regional block, you might have less pain as you start to wake up. Your medical team will give you instructions on how to manage any discomfort once you’re home.

Hand surgery recovery

What you need to know after hand surgery

  • Dry and clean: It’s important to keep your hand both dry and clean following hand surgery.
  • Protection: Steer clear of sharp objects and avoid exposure to heat until the numbness from the anaesthesia wears off. If your hand feels weak, make sure to provide it with adequate support.
  • Stitches: Your hand should remain dry until stitches are removed, typically between 10 to 15 days after surgery.
  • Movement: Do not move the finger or hand until you have been cleared by the hand therapist.
  • Elevation: Keep your hand elevated above your heart to reduce swelling. This is usually necessary for one or two days after simpler procedures.
  • Strength: Expect your hand to be weaker initially. Avoid lifting heavy objects for at least a month to allow proper healing. Any specific instructions will be given to you by Dr. Hadj or your hand therapist.
  • Massage and mobility: Once stitches are removed, you may be guided to gently massage your hand and scar to work on increasing joint mobility. This helps in reducing stiffness and improving function.
  • Other hand: While your operated hand is healing, your other hand might feel more strained as it compensates by doing more work. It’s wise to wait before scheduling surgery on your non-operated hand until you’re certain its discomfort isn’t simply due to the extra workload.

Hand surgeon Brisbane

Why QLD Hand Surgery?

Queensland Hand Surgery is a dedicated hand surgery clinic.

“We have five in-house hand therapists ensuring optimal recovery after your hand surgery.”

Dr Andrew Hadj

Dr Andrew Hadj

QLD Hand Surgeon 

You can find us in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast (Burleigh Waters). Request an appointment today.