Before Your Hand Surgery
Getting your correct diagnosis is the first step in a successful surgery. The goal is to pinpoint your problem.
We'll work with you during your evaluation:
- Learn your medical history.
We need to know about your general health, any recent hand injuries and what tasks you do on the job, since many hand injuries are work-related.
- Give you a thorough hand exam.
We will look closely at your hand for any signs of infection, sensitive areas and places where function and movement are impaired.
- Make sure you have the right tests.
These include X-rays, nerve tests or other imaging tests, as well as testing your hand's range of motion.
The nature of your surgery will determine whether you can go home the same day or will need to be admitted to the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta.
Preparing for surgery
To make recovery easier and less stressful:
- Buy disposable plates and foods that can be easily prepared, such as frozen dinners.
- If surgery will be done on the hand you write with, sign some checks ahead of time.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery.
To reduce the risk of complications:
- Stop smoking and do not take aspirin for at least one week before surgery.
- Don't eat or drink anything (even water) for eight hours before surgery.
The day of surgery
Your surgeon will discuss the type of anesthesia you will receive.
- A general anesthetic lets you sleep.
- A regional anesthetic numbs your hand and arm.
- A local anesthetic numbs just the area being operated on.
With local anesthesia, you may feel some discomfort from the tourniquet (cuff) on your arm, which is needed to prevent blood flow to your hand during surgery.
Risks and Complications
Your surgeon will discuss the risks of surgery with you, including:
- Excessive bleeding;
- Severe swelling;
- Unrelieved pain;
- Impaired circulation;
- Tingling or numbness;
- Impaired movement; and