Elbow Surgery Recovery
Post elbow surgery, with a hope of being liberated from the pain, it is important to note that, the success of the surgery is only through proper after care. The act of the replacement is as important as the precautions you need to take after.
Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler of Thomas &Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, Nevada, provide the below post -operative after care regime:
- Dressing of the wound: an open incision is an invitation for a bacterial raid. The patient or an attender must know the basics of wound dressing. Pus formation is common side effects post any surgical procedure. The fluid drain must be cleaned regularly and kept dry. Change the dressing only if the bandage is wet. After three days if the surgical dressing appears dry and clean then do not disturb it. If small amount of drainage is noticed then apply a water proof bandage. Maintaining a dry environment around the incision is very important. Seal the site before you step into the shower. For two weeks do not indulge in any activity that might dampen the surgical site.
- Pain management: the local anesthesia that is injected around the site of operation weans off after 12 hours. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Diclofenacl or Ibuprofen and Paracetamol can be taken at regular intervals for a couple of week post- surgery.
- Ice packs: ice alleviates the pain by temporarily numbing the areas of contact. Swelling also subsides. Make it a habit to apply an ice pack for 20 minutes after every two hours. Take care against direct contact of ice with the wound. Pack ice tightly in a plastic bag before it touches the skin.
- Sling: it is there for a purpose of supervising the right setting of the implant. You have to wear it post- surgery at least for a few days. Most patients remove the sling complaining that it is uncomfortable, says a Board certified orthopedic surgeon.
- Physical activities: swelling can be decreased by keeping the operated arm elevated. Swelling in most case, is nothing but the accumulation of the drained fluid from the site of surgery. While resting, a pillow underneath the forearm offers greater support than resting directly on the bed. As far as possible, try resting in an inclined position. Avoid lifting heavy objects or repetitive functions of the wrist, shoulder or elbow for a minimum of 10 days after surgery. Patients who seem to manage pain better can return to driving after a week.
- Exercise: a meeting with the physiotherapist after surgery is common. While the doctors work at the root of the problem, a physiotherapist enables strengthening and recovering of joints. Light exercises of elbow, shoulder, hand motion and wrist exercises are performed, with assistance, as early as the next day. Serious exercise sessions start a week post-surgery. The list of exercises is specified according to the Exercise program.
Pre-cautions post operation:
- Avoid contact sports
- Do not use the arm operated as a support
- Refrain from opening doors or pulling actions for at least 6 weeks
- Avoid falls, anything which is heavier than a coffee cup, do not lift it
- Swelling is normal, do not fret if it is visible for a few days
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394