Activity: After your fracture repair, you will be placed in a bulky dressing and splint. This should remain in place until you first post op visit at 7-10 days after surgery. After the first postoperative visit, the dressing may be removed, and you may be placed in a removable splint or hinged brace. You should wear the sling for comfort. You are encouraged to use the hand only to prevent the hand and fingers from becoming stiff.
You may not move the elbow until I have explained the restrictions that apply and the home exercise techniques.
Driving: You may not drive when wearing an elbow splint. You cannot drive if you are taking narcotic pain medication.
Work: You may return to work as soon as you feel able and if performing your regular job is possible given your activity restrictions (otherwise we will discuss return to work at your first post-op visit).
Dressings: Keep the postoperative dressing clean, dry and intact until you are seen at the first postoperative visit. Apply ice to the padded dressing as often as possible. You may purchase a cast cover from the pharmacy or surgical supply to keep the dressing dry during showers. Do not get this first post op dressing and splint wet. At the first office visit, we will remove the dressing and splint, remove sutures if necessary and place the arm in a removable brace which may then be removed for showers, home exercises and physical therapy.
After the postoperative dressing is removed, you may shower, and the wounds may get wet. Only Hibiclens soap may be used around the incision. After a shower, clean the wounds with rubbing alcohol, dry the wound with a gauze pad and cover with a Band-Aid. If there are paper Steri-strips on the incision, leave it intact and covered with a Band-Aid. It is normal for the arm to be painful after surgery. Apply ice as often as tolerated.
Medications: You may resume your normal medications that you took prior to surgery. Your prescription for pain medication was sent to your pharmacy before the surgery. You should not require any more pain medication than we ordered before your first office visit.
If you are not taking the prescribed pain medications, you may take Extra-Strength Tylenol as directed on the label. You may take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Aleve if you know you can tolerate those medications and are not taking blood thinners. Once the nerve block begins to wear off, start your pain medicine.
Follow up: Make an appointment to be seen approximately _____ days after surgery.
I will discuss the procedure and the findings during surgery at this visit.
Problems: Complications from elbow surgery can occur and you must be aware of the early warning symptoms of some of the more serious problems that may arise. The risk of surgery is never “zero”. Call the office for a temperature over 101 degrees or pain not controlled by the pain medication. CALL THE OFFICE OR EMERGENCY ROOM IF ANY OF THE ABOVE PROBLEMS OCCUR.
If you have any questions or problems, please call the office. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm and can be reached at 860-649-2267. For emergencies, you should call this number and talk with me or the covering doctor.