Outpatient surgery is done in one day, usually taking anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the surgery itself. You will arrive at the center one to two hours before your procedure, have the surgery, spend a few more hours in recovery and go home the same day. Regardless of the type of procedure you have done, outpatient surgery for the wrist and hand will follow along these general lines.
Questions about your surgery
Your Riverside surgeon and staff will be happy to explain your particular procedure and what you should expect in terms of pain management and your rehabilitation. Don't hesitate to ask questions. The Riverside Ask-A-Nurse service is also a good resource for information about surgery preparation and recovery. They can be reached at (757) 595-6363 or 1-800-675-6368.
Prior to most outpatient surgery, standard pre-operative blood and urine tests are done as well as scans of the affected joint, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography). In some cases, you'll be given an exercise regimen to strengthen muscles around the joint prior to surgery.
Day of surgery
For outpatient surgery wear loose fitting clothing to allow for bulky dressings over the surgical site.
- You may be asked to change into a gown.
- While you are waiting for the procedure to begin, you'll be given a mild sedative to relax you.
- Depending on the complexity of the surgery, you'll be given regional or local anesthesia.
- Your arm and hand will be placed in a position that allows the surgeon to easily reach the injured joint.
- Your hand will be shaved and washed with an antiseptic for several minutes.
A tourniquet, usually special inflation cuffs, may be placed on your arm to minimize blood loss during the surgery.
After the surgery
You'll be moved to a recovery area to wait for the sedation and anesthesia to wear off. Your vital signs will continue to be monitored.
- Your surgeon will stop by to discuss the procedure and to give additional instructions for your recovery.
- Depending on your procedure, it may take several days for the incision wounds to heal and several weeks for the joint to fully recover.
- You may need to return to the doctor's office to have the stitches taken out in about a week.
- After the surgery, you should feel significantly better. While you may feel great, your hand and wrist still needs time to heal, so be careful not to overdo it. Follow your surgeon's recovery instructions.
- Your surgeon may prescribe physical therapy at one of the Riverside Therapy Centers to strengthen your hand and wrist supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.