After a short stay in the theatre recovery area you will return to the ward.
When you come back from the operation your wrist will usually be rested in a plaster splint/backslab to keep the wrist immobilised and it will require high elevation in a Bradford sling for a further 48 hours.
You may have a ‘drip’ in your arm, which ensures that you get plenty of fluids, as you are unable to take any by mouth for a short time after the operation. Once you are able to eat and drink normally this ‘drip’ will be removed. This is usually on the first day after your operation.
Once the swelling has subsided your wrist will be put into a short arm plaster cast. You will also have stitches in the wound and these are usually removed 10 – 14 days after the operation, usually at your first outpatient appointment.
Many patients worry about how painful wrist fixation will be and all staff understand this. It is usual to experience some discomfort and the staff will give you painkillers when you need them to help keep you comfortable. Everyone feels differently and it is important that you tell the nurses if you are in pain.
What problems can occur?
No operation is without the risk of complications. Your surgeon and therapist will explain any particular risks/complications of you operation before surgery.
Swelling is common after surgery and might be treated by elevation.
Is the operation always successful?
The surgeon’s expectations of your operation will be discussed before surgery (usually when initially seen in outpatients) so that you understand the likely result, and the risks/benefits of the proposed operation. This information must be taken into account when you make the decision to undergo surgery.
Your length of stay in hospital will vary depending on the swelling at the operation site and on your individual circumstances. Once you are moving around safely on your own, you will be discharged home as soon as suitable arrangements can be made.
Planning for going home begins as soon as you arrive in hospital, if you have any fears or concerns regarding your discharge please discuss these with your named nurse.
Your named nurse will ask you and your carers about your social circumstances, this is just to ensure that you will be able to manage certain tasks when you go home such as washing, dressing and cooking.
If your named nurse feels you and your carer will require extra support she will discuss this with you and with your permission will arrange for you to talk with the hospital social worker and Occupational Therapist.
If you live in the Newcastle area you will be assessed by the Orthopaedic Discharge Team (ODT) who will assess your suitability for the scheme which provides a two week supported discharge with nurse, physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy involvement.
Please discuss your transport arrangements home with your named nurse before your day of discharge. It is possible in some instances to organise hospital transport, if required.
The day of discharge
On the day of your discharge your named nurse will give you some things to take home, these will include:
A letter for your GP (in some instances this will be posted): this should be handed in to your GP by either a relative or friend on the next working day following your discharge.
Medication: Any medication you have bought into hospital will be returned to you. You will also be given a weeks supply of any new medications. The nurse will advise you on how and when to take these.
Outpatient Clinic Appointment: You will be given an appointment to be reviewed in clinic. If transport is required this can be arranged by contacting your GP providing a week's notice where possible. If for any reason you are unable to attend your appointment please contact the outpatient department to rearrange the appointment.
Care Plan: If you have a care package arranged you will receive a copy of the care plan from the Social Worker before your discharge home. This is for your own information.
Discharge Record: This provides details about your stay and is for your own information.
Plaster Instruction (if required): The nursing staff will provide you with instructions on how to care for your plaster once you are at home.
Mobility aids: It is important that you have your walking aids and any other equipment that you require.
Patient information: Please take home any written information given to you during your stay and please do not hesitate to use the contact numbers if you require any further advice.
Valuables: Please ensure you have all your valuables with you.