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General Postoperative Care and Restrictions

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Before Your Surgery Day Of Surgery After Your Surgery

You will be given postoperative (after surgery) instructions that will be explained and written down. Always refer to these instructions or call your nurse if you have questions.

Postoperative general instructions:

  • After leaving Woodland Surgery Center or the hospital, keep the extremity higher than your heart, usually held up across your chest.
  • Apply ice for 10-20 minutes of each hour while awake for the first 72 hours after surgery and then as needed for comfort. Never apply the ice directly to your skin or while sleeping.
  • Keep elevated while sitting and standing.
  • Keep dressing clean and dry. Use a plastic bag to cover your dressing for showering or bathing or hold the extremity out of the water.

There will be some discomfort or pain in the operated area. This can be lessened by the use of an ice pack, by elevating your hand above the level of you heart, and by the use of pain medication as needed.

*** Pain medications may make you sleepy or drowsy. Pain medication may also cause constipation. Do not drive or operate a vehicle, and do not drink alcohol while taking pain medication. Increase your fluid intake and make sure you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to help your bowels.


Certain postoperative restrictions may apply if you have had sedation or general anesthesia (put to sleep during surgery).

  • Do not operate complex machinery, power tools, or motor driven vehicles (car, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Do not sign any legal documents
  • Advance your diet slowly. Start with liquids but avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • An adult should accompany you at all times.