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How should I prepare for hand and wrist surgery?

Before the operation you’ll be asked to sign a consent form, which gives your surgeon permission to carry out the treatment. It’s important to ask any questions you may still have at this stage. Ask your doctor, nurse or therapist to explain anything you don’t understand. You should also discuss with your surgeon, anaesthetist or nurse at the pre-admission clinic whether you should stop taking any of your medications or make any changes to the dosage or timings before you have your surgery. Different units may have different advice.

A doctor or nurse will check your general health to make sure there won’t be problems with a general anaesthetic if this is being used.

You should have a dental check-up and get any problems dealt with well before your operation. There’s a risk of infection if bacteria from dental problems get into the bloodstream.

You may need to wear splints after the operation, which can make everyday tasks difficult. It’s a good idea to make preparations before the operation. Simple things like choosing clothes with wide arms, stocking up your freezer or arranging to have some help in your home will all make it easier to manage one-handed. It’s a good idea to arrange help with transport, as you’ll probably have to attend hospital regularly to see your doctor or therapist. Your occupational therapist will be able to advise you before your operation if you have any concerns about coping at home afterwards.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
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