Hand or limb surgery

  • Pain control

    Give medications as required for pain (paracetamol and ibuprofen are available from pharmacies without prescription). A nerve block with local anaesthetic is often administered at the time of surgery; this wears off over 24 hours and pain may increase at this time. Any areas that are made numb by the local anaesthetic should regain sensation at this time.


    Keep plaster clean, dry and intact. Some swelling is normal post operatively.  Ensure the limb is elevated in a sling or on pillows until pain and swelling are gone.  This minimises swelling of the operative area and assists in the healing.  Keep the area elevated on pillows at night.


    Do not play sport until advised by your doctor; this is likely to be at least six weeks after the surgery. Move the joints not immobilised in the cast as much as possible. When the plaster is taken off your doctor may organise for the occupational therapist to make a splint or to give specific exercises to perform.

    What to expect

    Observe your child's fingers/toes for colour, ensuring they are pink and warm to touch.  Your child may experience tingling or numbness which is perfectly normal in the healing process.

    Medical attention

    Seek medical attention if your child has:

    • Increasing pain or pain is not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Colour changes (white, blue, purple) or swelling to the fingers/toes
    • Persistent pins and needles or numbness
    • Wound discharge or increasing redness
    • Cracking or loosening of the plaster cast


    Your follow-up appointment will be at one of the following:

    • Plastic Surgery Outpatient Registrar Clinic, Blue Desk, Ground Floor, The Royal Children's Hospital (morning appointment)
    • Consultant Clinic 
    • Consultant Private Rooms 
    • Local doctor

    If you are unable to keep your appointment please call to reschedule.


    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 5391
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed November 2015.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.