Postop Wrist Fracture
You will use a sling following surgery. This should be worn as needed for comfort or as directed by your surgeon. Elevation following surgery is important. Do not walk with your hand hanging down at your side.
Moving Your Hand & Wrist
You will be placed in a splint during surgery. You may gently move your elbow (if it is not included in the splint) and shoulder following surgery. Your surgeon will remove the splint at your first clinic visit and either transition you to another splint/brace or explain how to progress your range of motion. If your elbow is not restricted, you may move your elbow gently several times per day.
Use a commercially available ice bag or fill a large plastic bag with ice and water. (Do not place a plastic bag directly on your skin, but place a towel on your wrist or hand in between your skin and the ice bag.) You can ice the affected area 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off throughout the day. Do not apply ice longer than 30 minutes at a time, as this can cause frost bite. Ice is most helpful in the first 3 days after surgery, but can help up to 2 weeks after surgery. We do not recommend that you use heat, as this can increase swelling.
Leave your dressing clean and dry and do not remove until your postoperative clinic visit. Your surgeon will remove the dressing and discuss wound care at that time.
You will be given a narcotic pain medicine (such as Percocet – oxycodone, Norco – hydrocodone, or Tylenol#3 – Codeine). We will prescribe a different medication if you cannot take these. Take this AS NEEDED only. Do not take additional Tylenol (sometimes called acetaminophen) with these medicines, as they already have Tylenol in them. You may SUBSTITUTE Tylenol for a narcotic pill if you choose to. Be certain that you do not exceed the maximum Tylenol dose as noted on the Tylenol bottle. Pain medicines often cause constipation, so you may want to purchase an over-the-counter stool softener (for example – Dulcolax, or you may also ask the Pharmacist) to take along with these medicines. It is best to take most of these medicines with some food, as they can all cause a little stomach upset.
You may have received Phenergan (promethazine) or Zofran (ondansetron). You may take these medications if you are having nausea or vomiting.
Please do not take NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Motrin, as these may slow healing of bone and tendon.
You should have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon in about 2 weeks if you stay overnight in the hospital. If you do not stay in the hospital, you will have an additional visit with the Physician’s Assistant within a few days of your surgery. Call (480) 964-2908 right away if you do not have an appointment already scheduled. We will check your incisions and remove any sutures at the 2-week visit. We will also answer any specific questions you may have about your surgery. We will consider getting you into Physical Therapy if this has not been arranged, as many patients benefit from PT after elbow surgery.
Call our office at (480) 964-2908 with any urgent or emergent questions or concerns that you may have, or if you develop swelling in your leg with calf pain, swelling that will not go away when you elevate your leg, a temperature above 101.4, or drainage from your incisions.
If you experience any of these symptoms: go to an Emergency Department close to your house: High fever (above 102.5), chest pain, difficulty breathing, fainting, or bleeding.