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Post-surgery - Taking care of your hands

This page contains generic information on how to take care of your hand after your surgery. Always check with your care team if you have doubts.


Swelling may persist up to few weeks after operation. Controlling the swelling helps to improve pain and speed up your recovery.

  • When lying down, you should keep your operated hand above the level of your heart
  • Use a pillow when you are sitting or lying down
  • Keep your operated hand upwards when walking around
  • Do the hand exercises that you have been taught to do

Taking care of your hands after surgeryWound care

  • Keep your dressings clean and dry
  • Protect your dressing with a waterproof cover (e.g. a plastic bag) when showering
  • Use a wet tissue to wipe the unaffected fingers over operated hand
  • If the dressing gets wet, dirty or loose, go to near by polyclinic or General Practitioner
  • The stitches are usually removed 14 days after surgery (unless otherwise instructed by your doctor)
  • Avoid smoking as it may delay wound healing.

Pain management

Hand numbness and tingling is common after surgery. This is due to the local anesthetics that are used during surgery. This usually last for 6-12 hours

  • Take your pain medication as directed
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when you are taking medication.
  • Rest your hand and avoid carrying heavy objects
  • Swelling control helps with pain reduction.


  • Move all unaffected joints
  • Do the hand exercises you have been taught to do
  • Wear the splints/casts as you have been taught

Seek urgent medical attention if:

  • You have a fever of 38ºC or above
  • You have severe pain over the operation site not relieved by the prescribed medication
  • The hand that has been operated on becomes cold, blue or numb
  • Your hand becomes red, swollen, foul smelling, or if there is any discharge (blood, fluid or pus) from the wound
  • You develop any abnormal symptoms that cause concern

Where to seek urgent medical attention

Consult your surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital Specialist Outpatient Clinic during office hours

After office hours, present to Singapore General Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine

How to call for help

You can contact your doctor through the operator, the Hand Surgery Department or ward nurse clinician in-charge

General Hotline: (65) 6222 3322

Hand Surgery Department (Office hours): (65) 6321 4588

If your dressing becomes loose or stained, please call the Singapore General Hospital appointment hotline at 6321 4377 to bring forward your appointment

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