© Cambridge Fracture Clinic - Mr Lee Van Rensburg - Cambridge; United Kingdom
Cambridge Fracture Clinic

Post operative advice

General advice Pain Killers Wound care Driving

General advice

You should avoid driving for at least 24 hours following a general anaesthetic. Several factors need to be considered prior to returning to driving see below. If you were discharged on the same day, ie. day case surgery under a general anaesthetic  - you should ensure you have a responsible adult stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after discharge from hospital.  Avoid alcohol for 24 hours post operatively  Smoking should ideally be avoided for good, but at least 12 to 24 hours.  If you have had surgery on your limbs, elevation helps reduce swelling, elevate to the level of the heart or just above on a few pillows. Elevate strictly for the first 24 to 48 hours and then if it looks/ feels swollen. Remember a few minutes of letting the limb dangle down undoes a few hours of good elevation. Seek medical attention if there is an increase in swelling, increase in pain, change of colour, you develop ‘pins and needles’ (once the nerve block has worn off).

Pain Killers

Wound advice

How you look after your wound depends on several things, essentially you should keep the wound clean and dry until the sutures (stitches) come out.  The dressing has been placed in a sterile environment and is best left intact for 5 days.  Only change the dressing earlier if specifically instructed to, or if it is soaked through, moist or if you are worried your wound might be becoming infected (see below).  If blood stained but dry the dressing is best left sealed till 5 days after your operation. Only change the dressing if it is moist or soggy. Following arthroscopic (key hole) procedures it is not uncommon for wounds to leak fluid for a few days, change dressings when they are moist or soaked through.    If I have used absorbable sutures and totally buried the sutures (subcuticular monocryl) under the skin, you can shower day 5-7 and bath day 10 post op and if wound clean and dry swim day 14.  Often over the top of a wound I will apply steristrips (butterfly sutures).  These small tapes take the tension off the wound edges.  They normally come off with dressing changes or fall off on their own.  If not all off after 2 weeks shower or bath to loosen them up and gently peel them off. If you have stitches that are not absorbable that stick out through the skin (nylon, prolene) it is best to keep the wound clean and dry till they come out usually around 10-14 days after your surgery.  It is not the end of the world if you get your dressing or stitches wet, simply remove the wet dressing pat the wound dry with a clean towel and re dress.  If you really have to you could shower and allow clean running water over conventional sutures after 5 days, it is probably safest though to wait till all the sutures are out.

Signs of infection

Look out for: Following the surgery as a whole the pain discomfort and swelling should be improving. You should be concerned and seek medical advice if things change specifically if you notice. Swelling around the wound Discolouring, increasing redness around the wound Puss, increased discharge from the wound Smelly odour High temperature

Driving

Deciding when you can return to driving has two considerations: Will the act of driving impact or impair the healing process and perhaps compromise the final outcome of your surgery. Are you safe to drive, ie. perform an emergency stop or similar. It depends on what you drive (automatic/ manual/ power steering), the conditions you are driving in (bad weather/ night/ poor roads), how long the journey. Once your arm/ leg is strong enough and has enough range of motion to physically go through the motions of driving, it is also important to consider reaction times.  As with most return to activity advice it is best to follow a graduated return, increasing the duration and intensity as comfort allows.
© Advanced Nerve Blocks

Post operative advice

General advice Pain Killers Wound care Driving

General advice

You should avoid driving for at least 24 hours following a general anaesthetic. Several factors need to be considered prior to returning to driving see below. If you were discharged on the same day, ie. day case surgery under a general anaesthetic  - you should ensure you have a responsible adult stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after discharge from hospital.  Avoid alcohol for 24 hours post operatively  Smoking should ideally be avoided for good, but at least 12 to 24 hours.  If you have had surgery on your limbs, elevation helps reduce swelling, elevate to the level of the heart or just above on a few pillows. Elevate strictly for the first 24 to 48 hours and then if it looks/ feels swollen. Remember a few minutes of letting the limb dangle down undoes a few hours of good elevation. Seek medical attention if there is an increase in swelling, increase in pain, change of colour, you develop ‘pins and needles’ (once the nerve block has worn off).

Pain Killers

Wound advice

How you look after your wound depends on several things, essentially you should keep the wound clean and dry until the sutures (stitches) come out.  The dressing has been placed in a sterile environment and is best left intact for 5 days.  Only change the dressing earlier if specifically instructed to, or if it is soaked through, moist or if you are worried your wound might be becoming infected (see below).  If blood stained but dry the dressing is best left sealed till 5 days after your operation. Only change the dressing if it is moist or soggy. Following arthroscopic (key hole) procedures it is not uncommon for wounds to leak fluid for a few days, change dressings when they are moist or soaked through.    If I have used absorbable sutures and totally buried the sutures (subcuticular monocryl) under the skin, you can shower day 5-7 and bath day 10 post op and if wound clean and dry swim day 14.  Often over the top of a wound I will apply steristrips (butterfly sutures).  These small tapes take the tension off the wound edges.  They normally come off with dressing changes or fall off on their own.  If not all off after 2 weeks shower or bath to loosen them up and gently peel them off. If you have stitches that are not absorbable that stick out through the skin (nylon, prolene) it is best to keep the wound clean and dry till they come out usually around 10-14 days after your surgery.  It is not the end of the world if you get your dressing or stitches wet, simply remove the wet dressing pat the wound dry with a clean towel and re dress.  If you really have to you could shower and allow clean running water over conventional sutures after 5 days, it is probably safest though to wait till all the sutures are out.

Signs of infection

Look out for: Following the surgery as a whole the pain discomfort and swelling should be improving. You should be concerned and seek medical advice if things change specifically if you notice. Swelling around the wound Discolouring, increasing redness around the wound Puss, increased discharge from the wound Smelly odour High temperature

Driving

Deciding when you can return to driving has two considerations: Will the act of driving impact or impair the healing process and perhaps compromise the final outcome of your surgery. Are you safe to drive, ie. perform an emergency stop or similar. It depends on what you drive (automatic/ manual/ power steering), the conditions you are driving in (bad weather/ night/ poor roads), how long the journey. Once your arm/ leg is strong enough and has enough range of motion to physically go through the motions of driving, it is also important to consider reaction times.  As with most return to activity advice it is best to follow a graduated return, increasing the duration and intensity as comfort allows.
Cambridge Fracture Clinic