Peri-Operative Instructions

Pre-op Instructions

Preparing for Surgery

Once you and Dr. Yu decide that surgery will help you, you will need to learn what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.

Working with Your Doctor

Before surgery, your doctor will perform a complete physical examination to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or the outcomes. You may need to see your primary care doctor, or have an appointment at the hospital, prior to surgery, to ensure that you are in the best shape possible for the safety of your surgery. Routine tests, such as blood tests, are usually performed a week before any major surgery. You will be given specific instructions for any tests that are required prior to surgery.

  • Discuss any medications you are taking with Dr. Yu and your family physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.
  • If you are overweight, losing weight before surgery will help decrease the stress you place on your new joint. However, you should not diet during the month before your surgery.
  • If you are taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, warfarin or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, you will need to stop taking them one week before surgery to minimize bleeding. You may need to substitute the medication with another during this period of time. Please discuss this with Dr. Yu and your primary care doctor.
  • Smoking delays healing. If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your healing.
  • Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
  • Good nutrition aids healing. Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
  • Report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.
  • Arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping and laundry. You may even want to prepare some meals to have in the freezer for the first few days following surgery. Call in your favors!
  • Put items that you use often within easy reach before surgery so you won’t have to reach and bend as often.
  • Remove all loose carpets and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls. Even surgery on your upper extremity can throw off your balance.
  • You must have an empty stomach for surgery involving any kind of anesthesia or sedation. As a safe rule, do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to your scheduled surgery time. An easy way to do this is to avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before your surgery. If you do not adhere to this rule, your surgery may be canceled.
  • Arrange for a ride home from your surgery. You will not be able to drive yourself home from surgery. You will not be discharged alone from your surgery.


Post-op Instructions

You will be given instructions specific to the surgery that you are having, but the basic general instructions after your surgery are as follows:

  1. Elevate your hand/wrist/arm above the level of your heart at all times. This will reduce swelling, reduce pain, and
    improve your post-operative recovery.
  2. Take pain relieving and other medications as advised. Pain relieving medication should be taken with food. Begin taking pain medication as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. If you wait until your pain is severe, it will be more difficult to keep the pain under control. After the first 48 hours of surgery, take the pain medication only when needed.
  3. Do not drink alcohol, drive a vehicle, operate any machinery or sign a legal document for the first 24 hours after the surgery as the affect of the sedative and/ or the anesthesia administered during the surgery may last for the first 24 hours of the surgery.
  4. Use ice packs to help control swelling. However make sure that the ice bag does not leak into the dressing. Ice packs can be used liberally for the first 48 hours and even later, if required. Because of the bulk of the dressing, you may not feel the ice, but the cold will still be helpful.
  5. Keep the dressing clean and dry.
  6. Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks.
  7. Keep your follow up appointment with your doctor as advised.

Please consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Increased drainage from the incision.
  • Increased redness around the operated area.
  • Increased swelling that does not decrease with ice and elevation.
  • Foul odor.
  • Fever greater than 101°F.
  • Coldness, numbness or blanched white or bluish color of the fingers or toes.
  • Sudden calf pain or shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH)
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)