Surgical Services

ORTHOPEDIC POST SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS

DRESSING:

Keep your dressing clean, dry, and intact (unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon). You can place a plastic bag over the dressing for showering.

If the dressing, bandage, splint, or brace feel too tight, you should loosen it and immediately report to the nearest emergency department.

You may see some watery or blood-stained fluid on the dressing. If the dressing becomes soaked, there may be a problem. Go to the nearest emergency department.

Keep your splint clean, dry, and intact at all times. You can place a plastic bag over the splint for showering. Do not place any items inside your splint to scratch an itch as this could cause a skin infection. If the splint feels too tight, you should loosen the ace wraps and go to the nearest emergency department.

 

SWELLING:

There will be some swelling of the surgical site, and this should settle down after 3 to 4 days from surgery. You should keep the surgical site elevated above the level of the heart at all times for the first 2 days after surgery. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel (to prevent the dressing from getting wet and soft) to reduce pain and swelling. Apply the ice pack for 20 minutes, and then remove the ice pack for 20 minutes; repeat 3 to 4 times daily or more if needed.

 

ACTIVITIES:

Avoid vigorous exercise such as jogging, bicycling, walking long distances, climbing heights, riding a horse, skateboarding, etc. for 6 weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will let you know when you are personally ready to resume certain activities, including work activities.

Follow activity restrictions (for example how much weight to put on a lower extremity) as instructed by your surgeon.

No driving unless your surgeon says you may. You absolutely cannot drive while taking narcotic pain medications such as codeine, hydrocodone, Lortab, or Percocet.

Wear a brace, sling, or splint and use crutches or a walker as instructed by your surgeon.

Follow range of motion exercises to avoid joint stiffness as instructed by your surgeon.


PAIN MEDICATION:

You may have muscle soreness that feels like you underwent heavy exercise or have the flu for 1-2 days after surgery. Tylenol (acetaminophen) OR the pain medication that your surgeon prescribed should help this. Do not take acetaminophen (Tylenol) and your narcotic prescription pain medication at the same time.

You should take the pain medication that your surgeon prescribed at the onset of pain as directed. If your pain is not relieved with the pain medication, go to the emergency room.

Narcotic pain medication may cause constipation (hard stool or inability to have a bowel movement). You may need to take an over-the-counter stool softener to prevent or resolve this, or you can ask your surgeon to prescribe one for you. Also, drink plenty of fluids that do not contain sugar.

Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking narcotic pain medication.


NAUSEA & VOMITTING:

For nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up), drink plenty of fluids. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN. Start with small amounts of clear liquids and progress slowly, as tolerated, to a regular diet. If unable to keep fluids down, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

Narcotic pain medications can cause nausea and vomiting. Stop taking narcotic pain medication and try Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen in addition to elevation for pain relief instead of your narcotic medication.


FOLLOW UP:

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow up with your surgeon as scheduled. If you cannot make your scheduled clinic appointment, notify the Orthopedic Surgery clinic as soon as possible at: 1-928-283-2660 to make other arrangements.

 

PLEASE CALL FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS-TCRHCC, 1-888-264-9905

 

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION:

If you have an increase in pain or swelling where surgery was performed that is not resolved with pain medication or elevation of the surgical body part above the heart.

If the dressing and bandage feel too tight.

If you have any numbness or tingling (the sensation of your arm or leg “falling asleep”) in the extremity that was operated on.

If you start feeling bad, or have a fever, chills, or shakes.

If you have redness, pus, or excessive drainage around your surgical site.

If you have leg, calf, or foot pain, redness, or swelling in either leg.

If you have pain in your chest or difficulty breathing.

If drinking fluids makes you vomit (throw up).

If you have ANY concerns at all, go to the emergency department immediately

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS AT ALL, GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY