Patient Education

Pre-operative Instructions

  • Please wash the operative area but do not shave the area before surgery. Shaving can cause micro-abrasions which can accumulate bacteria and increase the risk of postoperative infection
  • Please remove nail polish, make-up, jewelry including piercings
  • Please notify your surgeon’s office if you sustain a cut, scrape or scratch within 2 weeks of your scheduled surgery. Having a cut in the skin near the operative area may increase the risk of your postoperative infection and you should consult your surgeon to determine if it’s safe to proceed with your scheduled surgery
  • Please notify your surgeon’s office if you have a new illness or a flare up of an old condition including cold or sinus infection, pneumonia, fever, other infections, chest pain or shortness of breath that is worse than usual, etc.
  • Please arrange for someone to drive you home

Post-operative Instructions

Pain Management

  • Some pain or discomfort is normal after surgery. Although each patient and surgery are unique and the approach to pain management is individualized, here are some general guidelines:
  • Elevate the surgical area above the heart x 48hours if it’s okay with your surgeon and ice the area as much as possible
  • If allowed by the surgeon, frequently move your fingers, wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder that are outside of the splint or cast
  • If you were prescribed opioids, they should not be your only source of pain control (use Acetaminophen, Aleve, and/or Gabapentin as instructed). If you pain is under control, take less than the maximum dose.
  • Expect your need for opioids to decrease within a few days of surgery. You can taper either by (1) take a smaller dose each time; or (2) increase the time between doses. Your goal is to control your pain with non-opioid medications after a few days.

Dressing and Wound Care

  • You may loosen tensors and wrapping if too tight, painful, or swollen, but do not remove dressing (gauze) from wound
  • Keep surgical area dry (you may shower/sponge bath but keep surgical area dry)
  • ou may wrap double garbage bag and tape it to keep the area dry or use commercially available products such as DryPro cast cover
  • While cleaning keep your extremity comfortably by your side

Splint and Cast Care

  • Keep splints/casts dry (cover them to shower or sponge bath if easier)
  • If it becomes heavily soiled, soft, tight/loose call the Orthopaedic Clinic at 780-418-8261


  • Forms will be completed following surgery – please bring them with you to your postop appointment
  • Any additional forms require 1 to 2 weeks to complete
  • Form fees will apply

When to call the Orthopaedic Clinic
(780-418-8261 – open Monday to Friday, 8AM – 3:30PM)

  • Cast or dressing change – should the cast or dressing become heavily soiled or loose
  • Infection – severe redness, severe warmth or fever, foul smelling drainage or discharge
  • Severe numbness or tingling (nerve block - if severe symptoms persist greater than 48 hours)
  • Severe pain


  • After regular clinical hours please address urgent issues to your local emergency department, however the Sturgeon Hospital Emergency Department is preferred if accessible