Patient Info

Upper limb surgery is a unique area of orthopaedic & hand surgery that requires input from both the surgeon & the patient. 

The post operative care & rehabilitation is crucial to successful outcome. The post operative rehabilitation is customised to the surgical procedure you have undertaken. It is important to follow the physiotherapy exercises and instructions following your shoulder and elbow surgery. In case of wrist & hand surgery, you will have a close follow up with the surgeon and the hand therapist after your surgery to ensure the desired outcome. 

The information provided is generic. Please contact the rooms if you have any questions about your surgery or post operative care. 

Before surgery

Fasting instructions:

  • For adults having an elective procedure, limited non-fatty solid food may be taken up to six hours prior to anaesthesia. 
  • If you are having a procedure in the morning, you will usually be asked to fast from midnight. 
  • If you are having a procedure in the afternoon, you will usually be allowed a light early breakfast e.g. tea and toast. 
  • Lollies and chewing gum are considered food. 
  • If you are taking pain medications, please inform Dr. Mettyas. 
  • In most circumstances, patients are encouraged to drink small amount of clear fluids for up to two hours prior to anaesthesia. 
  • Clear fluids are: water, clear apple fruit juice, clear cordial, black tea and coffee. 
  • Do NOT have: Tea or coffee with milk, cloudy or milk based drinks, carbonated drinks or alcohol. These are not considered clear fluids. 

What to bring to the hospital? 

  • Your X ray (if you have a hard copy) 
  • Medications 
  • Pathology results 
  • Documentation about your health funds 
  • Any splint / sling you currently using 

Regular medications: 

  • You should take your regular medications with small sip of water on the day of surgery (unless instructed otherwise by the surgeon or the anaesthetist) 
  • If you are diabetic, taking blood thinners or specific rheumatoid medications, you will be given special instructions prior to the surgery (by the anaesthetist or the surgeon) 

Checklist:

  • Please remove all jewellery, nail polish & fake nails from your hand before surgery. 
  • Shower either the night before or morning of your surgery. 
  • Wear loose fitting clothes that are able to be easily put on and will fit possible bulky dressing. 
  • Please notify the surgeon as soon as possible if you have any infection (active or recent) or skin cuts on the operative limb. 
  • You should arrange for someone to take you home after surgery. You will need to have someone staying with you for the first 24 hours after your general anaesthesia. 
  • It is ideal to cease smoking weeks prior to your elective surgery as smoking increases the risk of complications. 
  • If you are 50 years or older, you may require an ECG done prior to your surgery. 

In Hospital: 

Dr Mettyas will aim to review after your surgery while you are in the hospital to explain the findings of surgery prior to your discharge. If you are going home on the same day, Dr Mettyas will explain these findings in your first post operative follow up visit. You may get a courtesy call from Dr Mettyas or his rooms in the day following your surgery to ensure your satisfactory progress. 

Post operative instructions: 

Pain:  

  • You have been prescribed analgesia. Please take according to instructions. 
  • If you are uncertain about instructions or have questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Mettyas via email or via his rooms. 

Wound care:  

  • Please do not get your wound wet. You can shower or bathe, but you will need to make modifications to ensure that your wound does not get wet. 
  • Please leave your dressings on, and do not touch the wound. 
  • Elevate the surgical site as much as possible in the first 72 hrs post operatively. This may help to decrease swelling and pain. 

Hand therapy and physiotherapy:  

  • Please make an appointment and attend your post-operative therapy. 
  • It is a key component of rehabilitation and will help you to get the best results.

X ray:  

  • Please obtain an X-ray on the day of, or day prior to your post-operative 2-week review, if indicated. 
  • A referral form will be provided after your surgery if you need to get an x-ray done. 
  • You do not need to make an appointment with the radiology provider to get an x ray. 

Post op appointment in the rooms:  

  • A post-operative appointment should be made with the receptionists at the time of your surgery booking. If this has not already been made, please call the rooms to organise. 

Medications:  

  • If antibiotics are prescribed, please take the full course as directed. 
  • Take your normal prescription medications as usual unless you have been otherwise advised.  
  • If you have any concerns, please call the rooms, or contact Dr. Mettyas via email. 

General:  

  • Maintain good nutrition and a balanced diet. We suggest you avoid alcohol and smoking for as long as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When can I travel by aeroplane?

    There is a relative risk of deep vein thrombosis in general after surgery.

    The risk is not high in upper limb surgery or injuries. If you are planning to air travel during the treatment period, please discuss with Dr Mettyas prior to surgery.

  • Will metal detectors beep while I am going through the airport security?

    In general, small metalware may not activate the metal detectors in the airport while large metal may. We suggest you take a copy of your x ray or a medical certificate with you when you travel (if you are not certain about your metalware).

  • When can I drive?

    This is dependent on your procedure. In general, you can not drive if you have significant upper limb pain or taking strong pain killers.

    You should not drive if you are wearing any splint or sling. Please discuss with Dr Mettyas if you have any questions.

  • How do I obtain a work cover or medical certificate?

    Please contact the rooms to arrange this or ask Dr Mettyas during your consultation.