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Old 06-01-2014, 04:26 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Re: LRIT basal joint surgery questions

Originally Posted by boheme View Post
I'm having LRIT on June 9th.

Closer it gets the more I can't quit thinking about it.

If anyone would be so kind I need answers please to these:

How long does the surgery take?

What level is the pain and how long before it lessens?

How long before get up and start doing things out side like mowing on a riding mower. Carry water buckets with good hand?
I had surgery on April 30 and so am about 4.5 weeks out. I am by no means an expert but here's my experience so far.

My surgery took 2 hours. There was about 1.5 hours beforehand for prep and administration of the nerve block. I was in post-op for 1.5 hours and then went home.

I had oxycodone for pain and took that for 3 days. I took the maximum dose of 2 pills every 4 hours for the first day. By day 2, I cut back to 1.5 and on day 3, I took 0.5 one time in the morning and then was done with it. After that, I took extra-strength tylenol for several days. I found the pain while on oxycodone to be nonexistent and quite manageable on tylenol. The pain from my other (untreated) thumb was (and is) worse than the one that had surgery.

I was physically exhausted for the first week and napped every day. I didn't feel like doing much activity. After that first week, I eased back into mild, one-handed activities around the house. I was able to do chores like weeding and carrying water after a week but did not have my usual stamina. As far as a riding mower, that will depend on whether you can operate it completely with one hand (and really, do not use your hand for anything at all until you get your doctor's approval).

I recommend you read the threads in the arthritis section by Haydena and others - there is a lot of wisdom there.

My suggestions - get everything ready and tested that you'll need after surgery. Figure out what clothing will work (no zippers, buttons, or back-fastening bras) and how do basic things like brush teeth and floss, shower with a bag over your arm, etc.

The most important thing you can do to control pain is prevent swelling. To do that, you need to keep your hand elevated 24 hours a day, every day, no exceptions, for at least the first 2 weeks. An arm sling is not going to get your hand high enough - it needs to be above heart level with fingers pointing upwards. I recommend the Carter arm elevation pillow. It will be money well spent. I had that with me whenever I was sitting to keep my arm up and slept with it. For walking, a sling is OK but better is to just hold your arm up.

For my checkup at day 9, the therapist was very pleased I had no swelling. Swelling will reduce healing and cause pain, so this aspect of pain control is 100% under your control. I recommend doing elevation much longer than 2 weeks - Haydena did it for 6.

I know you're worried but I think like many of us, you'll realize the pain you're experiencing now is far worse than what you'll go through after surgery. Keep writing if you have more questions or worries. Being scared is normal - this is surgery and recovery will take time.