How Long Does It Take To Heal From Hand Surgery?
So what is life like after hand surgery? Well, it’s certainly bound to be more comfortable and beneficial to your overall well-being and, of course, improve the use of your hand. We rely on our hands for so many things on any normal day, probably more often than you realize.
That can make recovering from your surgery a real challenge. When you’re down one hand for any amount of time, that will definitely provide you with some difficulty with managing to do even the simplest things we usually take for granted.
For those of you who are about to visit a hand surgeon Richmond, you may be feeling a bit nervous about going through the procedure and, particularly, dealing with the healing time afterward. So let’s take some of the uncertainty out of the equation and try to bring some clarity on the situation.
First off, how long it might take you to heal from hand surgery will likely be different than the next person. We all heal differently and your recovery time will also depend on the type of surgery you’re having on your hand. Each operation is different and brings unique challenges when it comes to recovery.
But with that said, these are some common ballpark figures as to what you can expect at each phase of the healing process in most cases.
Your doctor is going to insist that you leave the medical facility with a friend or loved one who can drive you home, regardless of the complexity of the procedure. If you’re going “under the knife”, you will not be able to drive yourself back home.
When you do leave after the operation has been completed, you will need to keep your bandages clean. You should also take steps to prevent your splint from getting wet or dirty. Your doctor may limit your ability to shower with these on, at least for a small, initial period.
At some point either a day or more after your surgery, you will need to return to the doctor’s office to have the bandage removed. Your doctor will then inspect the incision to determine if there are any indications of infection and ensure that the healing process is going well.
While not all patients may experience pain or swelling, it’s possible that you could be dealing with both during this period of your recovery. Your doctor will have prescribed you some medications to manage any pain you might be feeling.
You’ll need to continue to keep your dressing dry and clean and while you’re probably cleared to take normal showers again, you’ll need to wrap the hand in plastic bags. At this phase, you may have your stitches removed.
The pain and discomfort has probably subsided but you’re likely feeling some type of strange sensations in your hand. This phase will have you doing light finger and hand exercises and you may be starting some form of physical therapy during this period. You should still be careful about using the hand in any capacity but you should be able to remove your splint except while you sleep.
Any strenuous workouts or exercises are to be avoided but you may be able to get your doctor to give you the go-ahead on light activities. Don’t do anything that can raise your blood pressure during this phase.
By the sixth week, patients can begin to slowly re-adopt their normal routines but still being sure not to over-exert themselves and continue to protect the hand from getting injured. Depending on the type of surgery you had, you may still be visiting your hand therapist and a return to work might still be delayed. That is typically dependent upon how much you are expected to use the hand at your workplace.
Some patients may be facing a second, follow-up surgery to correct whatever the initial diagnosis was determined to be for having this procedure in the first place. If you are expecting a second procedure, that may occur six weeks out from the previous surgery.
After this initial six week period, your recovery time can be nearly complete or you may have to continue the process from another surgery. But most patients are back to their normal capabilities and fully healed anywhere from three to six months after your surgery.
Remember, every patient is different and every procedure is different so don’t hold these benchmarks as the last word on the subject. Discuss recovery times with your doctor and you should be able to get some realistic time-line as to how long you may be out of action.