After hand surgery, casts and splints are used for support and protection of the injured bones and tissues. And, yes, you’ll most likely need to wear one or the other as you recover from the procedure.
Hands usually need to be immobilized for a period of time after surgery to allow for proper healing. Your hand surgeon will decide which type of support is right for you and how long you will need to wear the cast or splint, if you need one all.
When Hand Surgery Patients Need Casts
Most hand surgery patients actually don’t need casts. Casts are usually only used in treating broken bones.
A cast immobilizes the injured area, surrounding it with a hard, inflexible plastic or fiberglass material. The rigidity is necessary for many wrist, arm and hand fractures. However, the inflexibility of a cast can lead to serious issues if the injured tissues swell or if the cast is applied too tightly.
When Hand Surgery Patients Need Splints
A splint is the support of choice for most patients. Splints are commonly used after surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren’s contracture, de Quervain’s tenosynovitis and a number of other hand injuries, disorders and conditions.
Splints may be constructed from hard plastic and molded for a perfect fit, or a hand surgeon may opt for a padded gauze splint.
How Long Will You Have to Wear a Cast or Splint?
Every surgery is different, and the number of days or weeks you’ll need to wear the cast or splint is based upon the particular injury and surgical treatment.
With a fracture, you could be in a cast for several weeks. After arthroscopic surgery, the support may need to be worn for just a few days. Following tendon surgery, a splint may be required for anywhere from four to 10 weeks.
The only way to know the amount of time you’ll need to keep the splint or cast on is to ask your hand surgeon.
If your hand surgery is scheduled with Dr. J. Douglas Burrows at the Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence in northern Utah, you will learn all the details of your procedure ahead of time. You’ll know whether you’ll come out of surgery wearing a cast or splint, and you’ll know how long you must wear the support.
Dr. J. Douglas Burrows, a leading board-certified, fellowship-trained hand surgeon with over 20 years of experience, will take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns before you come in for the procedure. Contact our West Valley City office and schedule an appointment to discuss hand surgery recovery today.