Consultation and Consent
Ensure you have seen your consultant and that you understand the medical problem and the natural history . Consider operative and non -operative treatment options in particular ensure that non-operative treatment options have been tried (splints , painkillers , steroid injections etc )
Ensure that you are aware of all treatment options and also what is the aim of the treatment / surgery .
Ensure that you have discussed all risks with the surgeon/anaesthtist
Genrally speaking the risks of hand surgery are :
infection , bleeding, tender /ugly scars, stiffness / swelling , damage to nerves/vessels /tendons , failure to heal/ failure to improve, disappointment .
The chances of complications arising are usually very small .
Preparing for Surgery
Ensure you are psychologically prepared, aware of all treatment options and also aware of the risks of surgery
Starvation – usually no food 6 hours before, drink water (not tea/coffe/squash /chewing gum) uptil an hour prior to surgery
If you are having local anaesthetic infiltration alone , there is no need to fast – eat and drink as normal.
If you are having a general anaesthetic (GA) or regional anaesthetic (whole arm is numbed by the anaesthetist) then yo need to be starved as described above.
Post- surgical care
3 simple rules :
elevate the limb on several pillows at night , or sling during the day
control the pain well
move the digits . Light use of the hand is encouraged
Any concerns , contact your surgeon or the hospital
Appointments / Fees
Ensure you are fully aware of these and that your insurance company has authorised consultations , treatment and investigations . You will otherwise be liable for the fees.