What to Know About Hand Surgery Recovery

With 8 million people suffering from just carpal tunnel every year, there are millions of people who have conditions that require hand surgery. While surgery can alleviate and treat many issues, that’s not the end of the process. Your hand surgery recovery regiment is important to ensure the problems don’t arise again later.

Minor hand surgeries are some of the most common outpatient surgeries available. Most people who get a hand surgery performed are able to leave within a few hours. While recovery time will vary based on age and health, there are some basics to be aware of.

If you’re concerned about hand surgery recovery time or how to prepare, read our guide on what to do after surgery.

Heading Home

It doesn’t matter how minor your surgery was. You shouldn’t be driving following your surgery. This is one of the most common rules following the 50 million outpatient surgeries performed annually.

Whether it’s a matter of using your hands at all or if you’re coming down from some anesthesia, it’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, call a friend or family member to pick you up and drive you home.

You’ll have directions that will limit your use of your hand.

Day 1

After your surgery, you’ll probably have to return to have bandages removed. You’ll be tested for infection and the wound will be cleaned.

You may get some instructions to exercise your hand or wiggle your fingers to keep circulation going. This depends on the type of surgery, so make sure you follow instructions carefully.

Week 1

You’ll experience pain and probably have some medication to go along with that. Inflammation will persist but you might already be back at work.

There could be strange soreness and even discomfort if you’re required to wear a splint 24 hours a day.

You’ll have to shower with a plastic bag around your hand to keep the stitches dry. After your second week, you’ll probably have stitches removed.

Be aware of excessive swelling or any sign of infection, including fever.

Week 3

You’ll be able to stop taking medication at this point as long as you didn’t get an infection. Your hand surgery recovery should be well underway, with many of the hand exercises being able to be performed without discomfort.

Continue to avoid lifting, carrying, or gripping things with your hand. Stay away from exercises that increase blood pressure. Let your surgeon monitor the healing and how the scar tissue is developing.

Week 6

You might have needed to return to work in a gradual manner but by now you should be back into the regular flow of things. You might need to work reduced hours or use a lighter load while your hand heals.

You’ll have some follow-up visits with your surgeon or a recovery therapist.

3 Months

You should be back to normal at this point, so long as you haven’t developed excess scar tissue. If you managed to keep the area clear and free of infection, you might be ready to get back to any heavy duty work at this point.

Hand Surgery Recovery Takes Patience

Depending on the kind of work that you do, hand surgery recovery could seriously impact your output. For writers, people who work in blue-collar industries, or more tech workers, hand surgery might stop your work altogether.

If you want to try a few natural remedies before you pursue hand surgery, check out our guide to what your options are.