Ongoing hand or wrist injuries are not uncommon for individuals who work in the construction, manufacturing and healthcare services industries. After you undergo surgery, complications can ensue if it’s not treated properly. While some complications are temporary, others can be major and permanent. This means that you may be in the hospital multiple times after your initial surgery to treat these complications which, in turn, will require hefty hospital bills and force you to miss work.
If you suffered an injury to your hand or wrist that will require surgery, make sure to discuss these potential complications with your doctor to ensure you make a full recovery.
Complications of Hand/Wrist Surgery
- Carpal Tunnel: Hand surgery puts patients at risk for recurring carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers. The condition occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. In most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time, so early diagnosis and treatment are important. It is typically caused by repetitive hand motions over a prolonged period of time may aggravate the tendons and cause swelling that puts pressure on the nerve.
- Infection: There is a risk of infection following surgery that will cause redness, swelling and pain around the area of the stitches. Typically, infections can be treated with oral antibiotics. However, a deep infection around the tendons and bones could cause the need for hospital admission and further surgery.
- Delayed Healing: Your stitches are susceptible to splitting open throughout the early stages of the healing process, which can delay your recovery and ability to return to work. The reasons for this may include infection, bleeding, or poor blood supply to the wound edges. Always make sure that your wound is properly covered with gauze, dressings and medical tape.
- Nerve Injury: Hand and wrist surgery puts patients at high risk of nerve damage due to bruising, inflamed tissue or lacerations. This will cause ongoing, nagging pain and stiffness.
- Deep Scarring: Some scars from hand surgery never go away, which can cause scar tissue to build up around the nerve at the site of surgery resulting in pain, numbness, tingling and restricted movement.
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome: Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral and central nervous systems resulting in in post-surgery pain, stiffness, abnormal sweating, poor muscle movement and swelling. Mild cases have moderate chances of improvement, however, severe cases could leave your hand permanently stiff and swollen and require long-term disability coverage. It’s also commonly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS).
Conservative Treatment of Hand Pain
Before electing to undergo hand or wrist surgery, consider using conservative management to treat your pain. These non-surgical options include the use of a wrist brace, physical therapy, applying ice and heat, stretching and taking pain relievers as needed.
How to Minimize the Risk of Complications
If surgery is your only option, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk of complications from surgery. Before setting a date for surgery, meet with your primary care provider to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery. If you are a smoker, stop smoking. Notify your doctor if you’re currently suffering from any infection. Finally, postpone your surgery if you can in order to improve your health and weight, considering complications from hand surgery are more likely to occur in overweight patients.
Let Dugan & Associates Help You!
If you or someone you love suffers from ongoing complications from hand or wrist surgery, the team at Dugan & Associates is ready to look at your case. Our team of experienced workplace injury lawyers will make sure you receive the maximum monetary compensation available to you. Give us a call at 412-353-3572 or contact us online today for your free consultation!