Instructions for After Surgery
Instructions for after Carpal Tunnel Surgery:
Elevation, Motion, and Use
After carpal tunnel surgery it is very important to make a full fist and fully straighten the fingers ten times an hour while awake. This is very important to prevent swelling and stiffness. In addition, it will help prevent scar tissue from forming about the nerve. This will not pull out the stitches. The motion will pump the fluid out of the fingers and thereby prevent swelling and stiffness. Elevation of the hand is also important after carpal tunnel surgery to prevent swelling. The hand should be kept at a level that is higher than your heart in order to cause fluid to drain from the hand. You may use the hand for light activities such as eating, dressing and personal care. Driving is allowed once you feel strong enough to safely grip the steering wheel.
Do not change the bandages or splint after surgery until the first post operative visit with Dr. Miller. The bandages must also be kept dry. Showering should be done with a large plastic bag over the hand and arm, securely taped just below the shoulder. By keeping the hand fully elevated, it is possible to take a brief shower without getting the bandages wet.
After an operation that has been done under a local anaesthetic, or local anaesthetic with sedation, it is common to experience numbness and tingling in the hand for eight to ten hours or longer. A prescription for a pain reliever will be given to you after the surgery and we recommend that you fill the prescription, although frequently only one or two pills will be necessary. The most important aspect of pain relief after hand surgery is strict elevation of the hand.
Stitches and Scar Management
Stitches are usually removed ten to fifteen days after hand surgery. A scar massage program is then begun, using Vitamin E oil, briskly rubbed into the scar for five minutes, twice a day. The oil may be purchased without a prescription, it is also fine to use the oil from a capsule of Vitamin E. The massage program is continued for at least one month. A thickened and tender scar will frequently develop four weeks after carpal tunnel surgery. You will notice pain primarily with direct pressure on the scar that will slowly resolve over several months.