Post-Operative Instructions - Hand / Arm Surgery

Wound Care 

  • Keep your dressing clean and dry. You may remove your bandage at 48 hours after your surgery. 
  • Please leave the waterproof dressing underneath intact until your review with either the Hand Therapist or Dr Taylor.  You may shower the day after your surgery. Cover your bandage with a plastic bag and use tape or a rubber band so that it is watertight. 
  • You may shower with your adhesive dressing.  Please avoid soaking this dressing.
  • If a plaster or a cast has been applied DO NOT make holes in it or remove it or insert objects below the plaster. 
  • Please keep your arm and hand elevated as much as possible to diminish the swelling.


  • Keep your hand at rest above the level of your heart at all times for the next seven days. This should be accomplished by using pillows and a sling when mobilising.
  • Attempt to move unsplinted fingers as much as possible (unless tendon or nerve repair performed).
  • Avoid activities that may re-injure your hand or finger.
  • Move all joints of the extremity that are not immobilised (ie shoulder, elbow, fingers and thumb unless instructed otherwise).

Pain Medicine

  • Take pain medicine on an as-needed basis according to the Doctor's instructions. Your pain will decrease over the next few days allowing you to decrease your pain medicine quantity until you stop. Increase the time between doses until you stop. 
  • You should not drink alcoholic beverages while on pain medications. 
  • You should not drive or perform duties that require concentration while on narcotic medications such as Endone, Oxycontin, Tramal or Targin. 
  • Always use paracetamol as first line medication unless you have a contraindication to this.


  • Unless you have been instructed otherwise you may NOT drive until at least your post-op visit when this can be discussed. 

When Can I Return to Work? 

  • Most surgeries require at least two weeks leave from work or school.
  • You should have a post-op appointment scheduled within 10-14 days (This appointment may be with a Hand Therapist if required).

What should be Reported Immediately

Signs and Symptoms to Report

  • Persistent fever. 
  • Sudden increase in pain or swelling, wound discharge or drainage or increased skin temperature around the incision. 
  • Increasing numbness. 
  • Deep calf pain and/or swelling. 
  • Shortness of breath.

Click here to download these Post-Operative Surgery Instructions as a Checklist for your records.

If You Have Any Problems Please Call Dr Taylor's Rooms on (07) 5699 8288.