After surgery you will be moved to a recovery room. There, your operative extremity will most likely be supported, and an ice pack may be applied to reduce any pain or swelling that you may have.

Your dressing should be kept clean and dry for at least the first 24 hours to help reduce the chance of infection.

You should expect some drainage on your dressing. Do not soak the surgical area in water. Showers may be taken with a protective dressing or as directed by your surgeon.

You may experience some swelling and discomfort during the first few days after surgery, and your activity may temporarily be restricted. Pain medication will usually be provided for you, and crutches may be helpful when walking. Ice or cold packs may alleviate pain and control any swelling.

Depending on your type of surgery, return to work or school within a few days may be possible; as advised by your surgeon. Rehabilitation exercises will begin as prescribed by your surgeon or physical therapist.

Return to Driving

Driving after surgery depends on one’s ability to mentally and physically respond. Anyone undergoing a procedure involving sedation, light anesthesia, or general anesthesia should not drive on the day of surgery.

Those taking narcotic medication should not drive until completely stopping this medication as this slows reaction time and can impair judgement.

Driving after upper extremity surgery may begin after the sling has been removed and control of a steering wheel with both hands can be comfortably demonstrated.

Driving after lower extremity surgery may begin after weight bearing is allowed and adequate strength and reaction time can be comfortably demonstrated.