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A 40-year-old member asked:

Will my arm get stiff after hand surgery?

5 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bauback Safa
Plastic Surgery 20 years experience
Typically yes: There is almost always some stiffness if the procedure requires post-operative immobilization. Typically, hand therapy and general use of the hand is enough to overcome the stiffness. If the surgery is very involved and there is severe post-operative scarring that is not resolved with therapy, a scar release surgery may be required in the future.
Dr. Michael Raemisch
Hand Surgery 24 years experience
Maybe: Depends on the surgery. Some surgeries are quite minor and risk of stiffness is very very low. Some surgeries have relatively big risk of stiffness. Discuss this with your surgeon.
Dr. Jeffrey Wint
Hand Surgery 35 years experience
It can: One of the most important aspects of hand surgery is to understand what you can and cannot do. Motion in the right amount is crucial. Hand therapy and movement on your own are essential but only as directed. Speak about this with your hand surgeon before surgery.
Dr. Jeffrey Wint
Hand Surgery 35 years experience
Variable as: It is dependent upon who you are, what the surgery is, what the extent of injury was and other factors such as health and related issues, swelling at the time of surgery reaches maximun at about 48-72 hours after surgery typically. This is why the first few days are very important for ice and elevation and that if allowed (read that (allowed) early motion may help diminish stiffness.
Dr. Zahid Niazi
Cosmetic Surgery 39 years experience
Hand stiffness: Yes, hand stiffness (not arm stiffness) can occur to a varying extent after a hand surgical procedure. This is minimized by correct positioning of the hand and digits in the immobilization period, early mobilization, self or formal hand therapy, use of NSAIDs etc. Your Hand surgeon will discuss the pros & cons of different options with you to maximize a good outcome for you.

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Last updated Jun 11, 2016

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