Surgery generally falls into two categories, elective and emergency. Outcomes from these two types can vary greatly. Emergency surgery is usually done to preserve life or function and usually follows some sort of serious incident or injury. Elective surgery means you may have some choice about the surgery as well as some time to discuss options with your doctor or medical team.
Post-operative expectations following surgery will depend greatly on the type of surgery you have, the amount of damage before and during surgery, your body’s response, and how well you take care of yourself afterward.
How can I prepare myself for my surgery?
The best way to prepare for surgery is to start as early as possible. Most surgeries come with a set of precautions for after surgery, but what you do before surgery can also make a difference.
LAST SUMMER, ANNA LEA Matysek of Sarasota, Florida, and her husband Jim set to work sprucing up their property. Some of the hardscaping that had been installed two decades prior had sunk into the soft, Gulf Coast soil, and it was time to break up that old concrete and elevate the flower beds. “We excavated these giant concrete pieces and then filled the trenches with rock and laid the pieces back down so that they’re now at surface level again,” Matysek says. The job took about two weeks and involved “a lot of digging, moving pieces of concrete and shoveling rocks.” By the end of the project, the property looked great, but Matysek was suffering from a classic case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports CTS “occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and the tendons that bend the fingers. The median nerve provides feeling to the palm side of the thumb and to the index, middle and part of the ring fingers (although not the little finger). It also controls some small muscles at the base of the thumb.”
A stiff elbow can be caused by a couple different things. It could be the result of a injury, such as a fall, and it could also result from a certain condition such as arthritis. Having a stiff elbow likely means that you are unable to move the elbow as you normally would. It makes it difficult to perform simple, everyday tasks. You likely cannot bend or straighten the elbow to pick up objects or rotate your palms to do things like wash your hands.
Here are different methods that your surgeon may recommend for treating a stiff elbow:
Hand surgeon Brian P. Kelley, MD, answers your questions about a broken hand.
How do I know if I broke a bone in my hand?
Breaking a bone, or fracturing a bone as a doctor may refer to it, is a common injury that can occur at any age. In fact, fractures of the bones of the hand represent one of the most common reasons for a visit to the emergency department in the United States (about 1.5% of all emergency visits). Also, fractures of the fingers represent about 10% of all types of fractures.
Fractures often occur after physical trauma, such as during sports, work, or falls. However, it’s important to remember that not all hand injuries involve a fracture of the bone. Other injuries, such as sprains or dislocations, may occur around the bones, but may not actually involve a break. In these cases, the soft tissues that hold bones together may be injured (such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, or cartilage).
Due to the chemical nicotine – which is present in cigarettes, cigars and pipes – smoking can affect many parts of the body other than the lungs. This includes the hands and upper extremities. First, nicotine can make existing hand conditions worse. Two examples of this are:
- Broken bones: A broken bone (fracture) can have more trouble healing in people who smoke. If you break your hand, wrist or arm, the fracture may not even heal.
- Dupuytren’s Contracture: This is a common condition that causes fingers to permanently bend into the palm, making it impossible to straighten the fingers. It may be more common in smokers.
The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) includes a membership of more than 3,800 prestigious hand surgeons in the United States and around the world. Hand surgeon members of ASSH are required to meet rigorous standards. They are required to:
- Pass the Certification in the Subspecialty of Surgery of the Hand, a difficult exam that tests their hand surgery knowledge
- Be certified in general, orthopaedic or plastic surgery by their Board
- Be of high moral, ethical and professional standing
- Have made worthwhile contributions in areas of hand surgery
During wide awake surgery, rather than being put asleep, you are only numbed in the area of the body on which surgery is being performed. You will be awake during the procedure. But, don’t worry, you won’t be able to see the procedure being performed. There will be a blue sheet blocking your view. For example, if you are having a hand surgery, only your hand/arm will be numbed. This procedure is fully sterile as a normal surgery is.
Watch our short, 3-minute video above to hear from a surgeon and patient about wide awake surgery. Or, keep reading to learn about the benefits of wide awake surgery.