How will I feel after my surgery?

  • You may feel slightly nauseated, light headed, dizzy, or sleepy for 24 hours after an anaesthetic.
  • You may have a slight temperature for 2 days.
  • It is normal to have a slightly red swollen incision.
  • It is normal to have a small amount of oozing, pink to dark red, from your incision.

When to call your doctor:

  • Any yellow or greenish drainage around the pins.
  • Fever of 101º F (38.3ºC) or higher.
  • Chills
  • Numbness, tingling, or loss of feeling that does not go away when you raise the affected arm or leg above heart level.
  • Increased pain that is not relieved by pain medication
  • Redness or swelling at the pin sites.
  • You develop nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea that persists after 24 hours.
If you cannot contact your doctor, go to the nearest Emergency Department.

For 24 hours after your surgery DO NOT:

  • Drive a vehicle.
  • Operate heavy equipment.
  • Drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Smoke.
  • Make any important decisions.
  • DO have a responsible adult stay with you for 24 hours.

Follow Up Care:

  • Be sure to ask your surgeon if you need to return for a visit.

What can I eat after surgery?

  • Eat light foods for the first day – tea, toast, soup, Jell-O®.
  • Drink extra fluids.
  • If you are diabetic, follow your doctors orders for diet & medications.

Activity & Exercise

  • Keep your affected arm or leg raised above the level of your heart as often as possible. For example, prop you arm or leg up on pillows. This helps to reduce swelling.
  • Put ice packs on the affected area for the first 2 days. Apply ice for 15 minutes at a time. Reapply ice every 1-2 hours while you are awake. Ice helps to reduce swelling and pain. Be sure to keep the pin sites dry while using ice.

If the fixator is on your arm:

  • Do not lift anything heavier than a fork, knife or spoon with the affected arm.
  • Exercise your hand & fingers at least once each hour while you are awake – make a tight fist, then fully straighten your fingers. You may need to help with the other hand. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.
  • Exercise your shoulder at least 4 times each day by lifting your arm up over your head. This exercise is important to keep your shoulder from getting stiff.

If the fixator is on your leg:

  • Exercise your toes and leg at least once each hour while you are awake. Wiggle your toes 5-10 times, then bend and straighten your leg 5-10 times, if the fixator allows you to bend your knee.


  • Take only the medication for pain that your surgeon prescribes.
  • Follow your surgeons orders about when to resume your routine medications.
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