Is Hand Swelling Normal After Open Hand Surgery?

Swelling after open hand surgery is a common occurrence. Patients may experience swelling for about a week after having a procedure on their wrist or hand, says Cooper University Health Care.

Undergoing hand surgery is often a good choice for people who suffer from severe ailments; however, each patient has to deal with a recovery period. Swelling after hand surgery is normal, but finding ways to counteract the swelling helps hasten the recovery time, Cooper University Health Care says. Doctors recommend elevating the arm above the heart while lying down, allowing the hand to rest on a few pillows. Patients should repeat this elevation strategy for a few days after surgery.

In addition to elevating the hand, Cooper University Health Care recommends holding an ice pack to the hand for the first three days after surgery. The ice reduces the swelling at the site of the surgery. Tight bandages may contribute to swelling in the fingers, so if ice and elevation do not work, patients can loosen their post-surgical bandages. Patients can also re-dress the hand a few days after surgery, which may help the wound feel more comfortable. Submerging the hand in water in an attempt to decrease swelling is not recommended as the hand should not be cleaned until a week after the surgery.