Tendon Interposition Arthroplasty

General Post-Operative Instructions for Tendon Interposition Arthroplasty

What to Expect:

The local anesthetic that was injected into your hand and forearm will make your hand feel numb for 8-12 hours.

You will have a moderate amount of pain for the first 3-4 days; this should be adequately addressed by the oral pain medication that was prescribed when you left the day surgery suite (typically Vicodin). It is acceptable to take the usual dose of an anti-inflammatory such as Advil at the same time you are taking the pain medication. Some patients find this very helpful if the prescribed pain medication isn't relieving the pain sufficiently.

Other measures that are helpful in relieving pain include elevating the hand on a few pillows and draping a plastic bag filled with crushed ice over the splint and dressing (place a dish towel or small hand towel over your arm first so the dressing doesn't get wet). You may ice your fingers and hand for up to 20 min per one hour period.

The First Five Days:

Keep your hand elevated as much as possible (prop it up on a couple of pillows). When lying on your back if you place your hand on a pillow you can put your hand inside the pillow case so that your hand will not fall off of the pillow.

Put a plastic bag over your forearm and hand when showering (keep dressing dry). Leave the surgical splint on until you return to the office for your follow-up visit.

Continue to move your fingers. Do not pinch against your thumb or lift anything heavy.

If you experience any worrisome symptoms such as a fever higher than 101.5 degrees or markedly increased pain, contact the clinic during normal office hours. If it is after business hours and you need to reach the doctor on-call you may call our main number: (503)214-5200 and this will put you in contact with the doctor on-call.

Activity Level:

This should consist of flexing and extending the fingers. You may use your hand for light activities such as eating, dressing, typing, etc.


Schedule a post-operative appointment for 10-14 days after the surgery for suture removal (appointment desk (503)214-5255). At this visit your dressing will be removed. You will get to wash your hand. Your sutures will be removed and you will then be placed in a short arm cast for 3 weeks.

When you return for your cast removal (approximately 4-5 weeks after your surgery) Your surgeon will examine your hand and thumb. You will then be referred to an Occupational Therapist who will make you a custom orthoplast splint that you will be able to take on and off. They will also help you devise a range-of-motion program.