Hand: Recovery Timeline

  • 3-5 days: office job duties possible with minimal use of your arm/hand; take breaks. Lift one pound weight near the body.
  • 2-4 weeks: gradually increase up to 5 pounds near the body; light typing possible but no strong gripping. Limit repetitive work.
  • 6-12 weeks: activity as tolerated; lift up to 20 pounds; do some repetitive work.

General Information about Minor Hand Surgery:

Dr. Siegrist schedules surgery on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Outpatient surgery (you go home the same day) at: Westfall Surgery Center or Rochester Ambulatory Surgery Center

  • Takes about 30 minutes. Most patients have minor hand surgery under local anesthesia; some need sedation.
  • The anesthesiologist or surgery center nurse will call you the night before surgery to review details.
  • You will need someone to drive you home. Expect to be at the surgery center for several hours.

Time out of work for surgery depends on the type of work that you do. Patients with a desk job can go back to the office within a day or so, with minimal use of the hand at first. If you have a physically heavy job, or need to use your hand for repetitive work, you be out for up to 6 weeks. Talk to your employer about this, and ask about returning to work with restrictions for the first few weeks.

What are the risks associated with this operation:

  • Infection, very rare with minor hand surgery.
  • Medical problems related to anesthesia, like heart or breathing complications.
  • Excessive bleeding or bruising, especially if you’re on blood thinners or bruise easily.
  • Continued pain, stiffness or numbness in your hand, or tenderness around the scar, despite everything going as expected.

Prepare for your surgery and you’ll have a speedy recovery:

  • Visit our website to learn about your condition
  • Fill out the paperwork for the Surgery Center.
  • If you need sedation, you’ll need to see your primary-care physician for preoperative medical clearance (EKG if needed, etc…)
  • If you have chronic health issues, you may need to see your cardiologist or other specialist before surgery with sedation or general anesthesia.
  • If you take Coumadin, Plavix or other blood-thinner, you’ll probably be able to stay on your mediation around the time of surgery (risk of bleeding or excess bruising is minimal. If you have to stop the blood thinner, we’ll contact your doctor who prescribes it. Usually, patients stop taking their blood thinner 5 days before surgery, and re-start the day after.
  • Stop taking any anti-inflammatory medicines (Motrin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Aspirin…) and supplements like glucosamine 7 days before surgery to prevent excess bleeding (you’ll restart them after the operation.)
  • Please write down any notes or questions, and bring them to your pre-operative visit for us to talk about.