After Your Surgery: Recommendations
Many of our surgical procedures are done on an outpatient basis—which means you are able to go home on the same day the procedure is performed. The following information should help you to be more prepared for your surgery and the days following it.
- You should plan to have someone remain with you for 24 hours after surgery. This provides a safer environment and promotes faster healing. Your risk of falling decreases when you have someone on-hand to assist you.
- You will begin physical therapy as instructed by your physician. It is important for you to bring your physical therapy prescription with you to your first appointment.
- A prescription for pain medication will be given on the day of surgery. Take the pain medication as prescribed. If you are having issues related to your pain medication (inadequate pain control, nausea, a rash associated with itching, fainting, hyperactivity, confusion or any other severe side effects) please notify our office immediately.
- To help with postoperative pain, you can put into practice the following suggestions:
- Rest—Resting is important for recovery. Not resting will delay your healing time.
- Ice or Cold Therapy—Using cold therapy frequently throughout the day will help to decrease swelling. To do this, apply an ice pack to swollen areas for 20-30 minutes each hour.
- Elevation—Raising an extremity above the level of the heart helps to decrease and/or prevent swelling.
- Leave the surgical dressing intact until your follow-up visit in the office. If you have questions or concerns about the bandage, please contact our nursing staff.
- Notify our office immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
- Fever above 100°F
- Increased redness
- Increased swelling
- Increased pain
- Yellow, green or foul-smelling drainage
- Opening of your incision
- Continued drainage (clear or otherwise) beyond the first week after surgery
- Calf pain
- Calf redness, tenderness, and/or swelling
- Go to the Emergency Room immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Keep your incision-site dry. If you intend to shower, cover the incision with plastic wrap and secure it with tape. Do not immerse your body in water (i.e. take a bath, swim, soak, or enter a hot tub, etc.) until your incision is completely healed. If the incision gets wet, pat it dry with a clean cloth or towel, and put on a clean, dry gauze dressing.
- You will be allowed to drive again once you’re given approval by your doctor, and only once it’s deemed safe for you to safely operate a vehicle.
- Plan to take leave from work for at least 7 – 10 days immediately following surgery. Returning to work safely largely depends on your type of work and if effective pain management is in place.
If you have questions or concerns, please direct them to our clinical staff at Wyoming Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. To reach our office, please call (307) 635-2562 (or toll-free at (877) 800-2215), Monday – Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you get an answering machine, please leave a message with your name and phone number, and your call will be returned promptly.
Caring for a Cast
The purpose of a cast is to keep a broken bone from moving, in order for the bone and injured area to effectively heal.
- Brand New Cast
- It will take approximately 30 minutes for the cast to dry once it is put on. If your cast is designed for walking on it, wait at least one hour before bearing weight on it.
- The drying process produces heat. Be aware that the area being casted will feel warm during this time.
- While the cast is drying, do not rest it on hard surfaces or sharp edges. Avoiding this will help to prevent dents in the cast.
- Once the Cast is Set
- Do not get the cast wet. If it accidentally gets wet, towel dry it first, or use a hair dryer on the cool setting. It will take several hours for it to adequately dry. If the cast is too water-damaged and needs to be changed, call our office at (307) 635-2562 to set up a repair appointment.
- If the cast breaks or cracks, call our office to arrange for a repair.
- To decrease swelling and pain after the cast has set, keep the injured, casted area elevated (above heart level). You may also apply an ice pack to the area around the cast.
- Do not stick any objects down inside the cast. This can cause a small cut or break in the skin under the cast, and it could lead to infection. If you’re experiencing itching that is unbearable, please call our office.
- Contact our office immediately if you experience numbness, tingling or swelling that is not relieved with elevation of the casted extremity, or discoloration of the skin or an increase in pain.
- We encourage you to consistently move any fingers and toes that are attached to the casted extremity. Active motion is recommended.
- Showering (& bathing)
- Commercially-manufactured cast protectors are available at most medical supply stores.
- If you are not using a commercially-manufactured cast protector, you can use hole-free, sturdy plastic bags to cover your casted extremity when you need to shower.
- Make sure the bag is air-tight and free of tears and holes.
- Use waterproof tape to secure the bag against your skin, above the cast.
- Fold a hand towel or washcloth over the top of the first bag.
- Use and secure a second bag on top of the hand towel or washcloth.
- Never submerge the extremity which is casted. If you plan to take a bath in a tub, be careful to leave the casted extremity outside of the water completely.
Prescription Refill Policy
To request a prescription refill, please call your local pharmacy directly, or call our office. If you call the office, please allow two business days for refill processing.
NOTE: The recommendations outlined above do not take the place of your provider’s specific instructions. They are intended only as a recommendation to help you prepare. Questions and concerns should be discussed with your physician, or directed to our office by calling (307) 635-2562.