The following general guidelines below offer recommendations for post-operative care that will help ensure that you have a quick, effective recovery. Remember, since every patient is unique, the timeline for recovery may not be the same for everyone.

Please follow all instructions your surgeon gave you as they may be specific to your particular recovery or situation.


The anesthetic drugs used during your surgery may cause nausea for the first 24 hours.

Eat a light diet for 12 hours following surgery and drink only water or other clear liquids (Sprite or 7-Up for example).

If nausea and vomiting become severe or the patient shows signs of dehydration (little or very dark urine, severe headache) please call the doctor.

A low-grade fever of less than 100 degrees is not uncommon in the first 24 hours following surgery.

Please call the doctor with any temperature over 101 degrees.

You may take a low daily dosage of aspirin after surgery (baby aspirin – 81 mg) to lower the risk of a blood clot developing until the sutures are removed.

If excessive pain or significant swelling occurs in the surgery area, please call the doctor.


It is not uncommon for pain to be greatest on the first or second day following surgery. This is when swelling is at its peak.

Take pain medications regularly as prescribed by your doctor – even if you are not experiencing symptoms of pain.

Pain medication taken prior to bedtime will help with sleeping.

It is important to not drink alcoholic beverages or drive while taking medication.

Do not take Tylenol/acetaminophen for pain as your pain medications may already contain acetaminophen.

Resume your normal medications for other conditions the day after surgery unless otherwise instructed.


Following surgery, keep the surgery site clean and dry.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how and when you should change your dressings.

Do not remove any paper strips or cut any visible sutures from the surgery site.

Continue to use an ace wrap for 5-7 days to control swelling if one was provided for you at surgery.

Keep the area dry for 48 hours. Unless otherwise instructed, the wound may be exposed in the shower (no baths) the 5th day after surgery. Do not to scrub the surgery area.

The wound should not be submerged in a bathtub or pool until the sutures are removed.


It is very important to apply ice and elevate as much as possible for the first 5-7 days after surgery to keep swelling down.

Once the dressing is removed on the first or second day, ice should be applied for 20 minute periods with the extremity elevated, 3-4 times per day.

Avoid direct contact of ice on your skin to prevent frostbite.


Follow instructions you were given at discharge regarding weight bearing. Crutches or a cane may be necessary to assist walking.

If you were given a sling, brace or CPM machine use your equipment as instructed.

Continue using any braces, splints, slings and immobilizers until otherwise instructed by your surgeon.


Most patients are able to drive after 48 hours if they can safely operate the vehicle without using extremities operated on and as long as they are not taking narcotic pain medication.

Driving while under the influence of narcotic pain medication is dangerous, illegal and highly discouraged.

You may return to school or work as pain allows and as soon as you feel able to meet the demands of your job or classes without causing further harm to your injury.

Let pain be your guide as to whether you are attempting to do too much too soon.


The doctor will need to re-examine you in 7-10 days after surgery. You will likely schedule this appointment prior to your surgery.

If unexpected problems or emergencies related to your procedure arise and you need to talk to the doctor, call us immediately.