Once the surgical procedure is finished you will wake up in the recovery room where a nurse will check on you until you are fully awake. Once you are awake and comfortable you will be taken back to your room. You may eat and drink when you feel able. I will visit you or your family to inform you about the procedure.
Going home or staying overnight?
Most upper limb operations can be performed as day case. Occasionally it may be necessary to stay in overnight particularly if surgery is performed later in the day. A nurse will check on you before discharge. If you do go home the same day, then it is important that you have someone to stay with you overnight. If you had a block you may not feel your arm and you may accidentally damage it while you don’t feel it.
Following arthroscopic procedures an absorbent dressing is applied. This need to be changed before you are discharged home. The dressing will absorb the fluid used to inflate your joint during surgery. Once you are discharged the dressing needs to stay on until the first follow up to prevent the risk of infection.
After surgery, physical therapy is important for building flexibility and strength. It also prevents formation of scar tissue at the repair site. This is very important as scar tissue limits movement and affects joint’s function. If you need physiotherapy an appointment will be made before you go home. You will be shown some exercises to do at home before your first appointment.
A sling is usually necessary following shoulder and elbow surgery to protect the repair and to help you take care of your arm. You will be advised for how long you should wear the sling. Usually, sling can be removed and pendular and circular exercises can be performed unless instructed otherwise. If you are not sure please discuss this with me or the physiotherapist.
A follow up appointment will be made for approximately two weeks after your operation to check your wound arrange physiotherapy if not already started and discuss recovery plan.
You should not drive following surgery if you are wearing a sling or a cast. Once these are discarded and you feel like driving you should be able to drive. Please start with short distances. You should not drive if your arm is painful or stiff.
Arm casts and splints
Splints and casts are supports that are used to protect injured bones and soft tissues. If you need a cast to protect your surgical fixation/repair you will be instructed to elevate your hand in the first 24 hours to prevent swelling. If your splint or cast becomes too tight this may need to be released.