Discharge Advice Following Hand Surgery

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-003/2023
  • Departments: Day Surgery (DSU), Plastic Surgery
  • Last Updated: 10 January 2023


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your discharge.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.  If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What should I do following discharge?

You should wear the sling as instructed. It is important to continue to gently exercise your shoulder, elbow and fingers to prevent any stiffness. Your dressings should be kept clean, dry and undisturbed. You may be advised to go to your Practice Nurse at your General Practitioner (GP) surgery for a wound review and removal of stitches or to attend the Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department. These details will be clear on discharge.

What rest will I need when I am discharged?

You should take plenty of rest at home over the next few days. Your doctor/nurse will advise if you should avoid any strenuous activities, housework, or exercises and for what duration, following your operation. You should not lift with your affected hand or allow it to hang down as this may cause pain, swelling or bleeding. You should place your arm on two or three pillows at night in bed or when sitting in an armchair during the day.

What follow up care will I need (if applicable)?

If you require any follow up care, you will be advised of these arrangements on discharge.

What pain relief should I take (if applicable)?

It is advisable to have a supply of mild pain relief medication at home, which should be used as directed on the packet if you have pain. If you have any bleeding (other than mild oozing), or your fingers swell, turn red, white or blue, you should contact the ward for advice.

When can I return to work (if applicable)?

Your doctor will advise you about returning to work after your operation.

When can I drive (if applicable)?

You should avoid driving until a doctor (or physiotherapist if applicable) advises that it is safe. It is wise to inform your insurance company about your injury to confirm that your insurance remains valid.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact any of the following.

Please contact the area where you had surgery in the 1st instance if the area is open.


General Advice

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment.  As part of your care, your information will be shared between members of the healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet.  Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service and to help with research.  Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health or social organisations that provide you with care.  All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it.  If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You. www.hey.nhs.uk/privacy/data-protection

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.


This leaflet was produced by the Plastic Surgery Department, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in January 2026.

Ref: HEY003/2023

QR code to open leaflet