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What is the typical recovery process after thumb surgery?

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Surgeries to repair damaged thumb ligaments require recovery processes including casting, splinting, limitation of certain activities and physical therapy, according to Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Thumb surgeries that require the replacement of thumb joints require bandaging and splinting, rest, ice and physical therapy during recovery, states Cleveland Clinic.

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Following both suture repair and fusion thumb ligament surgeries, patients are placed in casts to limit mobility for four weeks, states Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Depending on the level of healing, doctors may then require patients to wear thumb splints for another two weeks before working with physical therapists to regain mobility and strength. The full recovery process following surgery generally takes about three months.

Surgery to replace a thumb joint, known as an arthroplasty, requires immobilization of the wrist and thumb for one to two weeks after the surgery through use of a splint surrounded by a large bandage, states Cleveland Clinic. During this period, patients should elevate their surgically repaired hand, apply ice to reduce swelling and move the affected arm often to prevent fluid buildup. After one to two weeks, doctors replace the bandaged splints with custom splints or casts that patients wear for another month before physical therapy begins. Generally, patients can resume normal activities after three months, though it may take six months for the thumb to return to full strength.

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