Adelaide Plastic Surgery

Treating Hand Trauma

Treating Hand Trauma

At Adelaide Plastic Surgery, we can treat anything from a simple skin wound that just needs a dressing, to the complex and delicate microsurgery required by those who have suffered a severe crush or amputation.

Treating Hand Trauma

How we deal with different injuries

Perhaps not surprisingly, the most common injuries involve the extremities. For a simple fingertip injury, surgery may or not be required. We can often deal with simple skin or pulp loss of up to one square centimetre conservatively with dressings. More complex skin and pulp wounds may require local flaps or skin grafts, especially if there’s bone exposed. It is often more sensible to shorten a fingertip slightly rather than embark on complex reconstructions. But your surgeon will assess the situation and then advise you of your options. As a rule, all cut tendons and nerves need surgical repair, along with most fractures, unless they are very stable.

What happens after the operation?

You should keep the injured limb elevated and rested, so it doesn’t become swollen and painful. Don’t worry: your surgeon will give you full instructions and make sure you know exactly what to do. We then refer complex injuries to a hand therapist to assist you with your rehabilitation. With our support, you have a big part to play in your own healing: this crucial step strictly relies on you staying motivated to follow your mobilisation program for an optimal outcome.

Minor Procedure Discharge Information

Simple Excisions and Hand Surgery

It is normal for the suture lines to ooze blood for 24–48 hours.

If the area bleeds:

  • Sit or lie down and elevate the area.
  • Apply firm pressure over the area for 20–25 minutes.
  • Ice packs can be applied to assist in controlling the bleeding.
  • If bleeding does not stop please call and speak to one of the nursing staff on 8213 1800 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.
  • Outside of these hours please call 8213 1800 and listen to the message. You will be provided with contact details for our on call surgeon or nurse.

Pain or discomfort
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort take Panadol or Panadeine 4 hourly (as long as you are not allergic to these) with a maximum of 8 tablets in 24 hours.

Aspirin based analgesia should not be taken before or immediately after surgery as this can increase the tendency for you to bleed.

If the pain worsens over the first few days please phone and speak to one of our nursing staff. Hand and finger injuries should be kept elevated above the level of the heart.

General wound care
You will often have steri strips or hypafix applied. Please leave these in place until they fall off. You can shower with the tapes on and pat them dry with a towel. If the tapes fall off, leave the wound open, wash daily and pat dry.

If you are unsure as to what type of dressing you have, please call and speak to one of our nursing staff.

Do not use a sling for hand and finger injuries unless instructed by your surgeon.

If you have more than a simple tape dressing this needs to be kept clean and dry until your post op appointment

Wound care—grafts

Graft Site
Grafts will either have a dressing on top of them or left open. If there is a dressing, it must remain clean and dry. The dressing will be removed at 7 to 10 days. If it is left open then the area can get wet in the shower (after the first 24 hours) and you will be given ointment to gently and sparingly apply 4 times a day.

Donor Site
The donor site will have a dressing, and unless you are told otherwise this must remain clean and dry. It is common for these sites to bleed or ooze for a number of days. These dressings must remain in place for up to 14 days. You may add additional tape to the dressing if it becomes loose.

Scar management
All surgeries result in scarring. To help you to achieve the best results, a number of options suitable to your particular circumstance will be discussed at the appropriate time once healing has occurred.

Wound care—lasering

Lasering on the body
Often the area is covered with a dressing. You may shower as normal. After 2–3 days the dressing can be removed, and the area left open.

Lasering on the face
Often the area is left open and will ooze a little. You will need to keep the area clean by removing as much ooze as possible. This needs to be done every 4–5 hours for the first few days until the area is no longer oozing.

After cleaning apply a thin coat of Vaseline to prevent the area drying out, cracking and bleeding.

You may wash and shower as normal. As the area heals the ooze will lessen and cleaning is reduced.

After 4–7 days the area should have healed and will be pink. You will no longer require Vaseline—instead use a moisturising cream twice a day.

The redness will fade over time and must be protected from the sun. We recommend you use a good sunscreen.

General Information

Any Concerns
Please phone 8213 1800 and ask to speak to our nursing staff Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.

In case of an emergency
Your surgeon or the on call surgeon can be contacted on 8213 1800 at any time.

Our Hand Trauma Surgeons