Recovery following a hand surgery and cosmetic surgery will vary according to the extent of repair performed. Most patients will be able to return home the same day after they have recovered from anesthesia effects and have the arrangements in place for transportation and aftercare.
At the time of the initial consultation, the hand surgeon will discuss various aspects of the procedure, including the recovery process. The patient should be prepared to follow the recovery instructions carefully in order to achieve the best outcomes. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bram Kaufman provides hand surgery to patients in Beachwood, Pepper Pike, Cleveland, OH, and other cities and communities in this part of Northern Ohio.
Immediate Post-Op Phase
Once the patient has recovered fully from the effects of anesthesia, they may be able to go back home. The arm will feel numb and floppy for the first few hours. The hand may be placed in a sling to keep it elevated in order to mitigate swelling. Initial bruising and swelling will cause mild pain for the first few days. The surgeon may prescribe pain meds to keep the patient comfortable after the hand repair and cosmetic surgery.
For the first few days, the patient will be instructed to the hand above the heart level as far as possible to help reduce swelling. The patient will not be allowed to drive for a few weeks after the surgery. If required, they should have someone stay over at home for a few days to help with the daily chores.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
If the hand has been placed in splint, the patient will be required to wear it at all times for about three to six weeks. The patient should take care to prevent the splint from getting wet, and should cover it with a plastic bag while having a shower. The physical therapist will teach a few specific hand exercises after the surgery, either before the patient has left the surgery center, or at a later appointment date.
The exercises are designed to prevent the repaired hand tendons from getting stuck to the surrounding tissue, which can restrain hand movement. If the patient is a smoker, they will be required to avoid smoking for several weeks or months in order to allow for safe and effective healing.
Returning to Normal Routine
The nature and location of the hand injury will determine how soon the patient can return to their normal routine or go back to their workplace. It takes about three months for the repaired tendon to regain its full strength, but the full range of movement may only be restored in about six months. In a few cases, the affected thumb or finger may never move as much as before it was injured.
Most patients are, however, able to resume light activities such as writing or typing in about six to eight weeks. Driving, light lifting, and other light activities may be resumed in eight to 10 weeks, while heavy lifting can be resumed in about 12 weeks.
Tremendous and percipient plastic surgeon Dr. Kaufman receives patients from Beachwood, Pepper Pike, Cleveland, OH, and nearby areas in The Buckeye State for hand surgery.