Our providers are not always on emergency call for the hospitals, but as a courtesy to our patients, we will always have a provider that is “on call” for urgent or emergent matters. The following is a list of questions or concerns that patients frequently have after surgery or an injury. Please read through this before contacting our providers.
If your question is not answered in our FAQs section, and you believe that you are experiencing a medically urgent problem, you can then call the “on call” provider. Please note, our providers are not always immediately available and will return your call at their earliest convenience. If your call is not answered, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as the provider is available.
Bruising and/or swelling is a normal response to an injury or surgery. Bruising and swelling may travel to different areas of the extremity depending on the affected site. For example, injury or surgery to the shoulder may result in bruising and swelling that travels to the hand and fingers. The same is true to a procedure or injury to the hip or knee, as bruising and swelling will travel to the foot and ankle. Icing and elevating the extremity will not resolve swelling completely but will decrease the swelling/bruising and make you more comfortable.
To improve swelling, we recommend icing the affected area several times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Elevate the affected body part above the level of the heart as much as possible. You can loosen the outer layers of the bandage if it feels too tight and is causing problems with circulation. Taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/Advil can also help with swelling and pain. Please do not take these medications if you have been instructed not to do so by another doctor or have an allergy to this type of medication.
Our providers recommend leaving the dressing intact and the way that it was placed during surgery. If you feel that the dressing/bandage is too tight and is a source of pain, it is appropriate to loosen the outer wraps slightly without removing it all together.
Post-operative wounds may appear red, swollen, and warm to touch. This appearance is usually a result of your body healing the surgical site and is normal. Infection generally does not occur until several days after surgery, so redness, warmth, and slight drainage is normal and not concerning in the first few days after surgery. Signs of infection, which generally present after at least 3-4 days after surgery include increasing redness and pain, increased drainage, and red streaking. If any of these occur several days after surgery, it is appropriate to notify the “on call” provider.
A fever is defined as a temperature greater than 100.4 F. Fever related to surgical wound infection usually does not present until several days after surgery. If you are experiencing a low-grade fever after surgery, it is most likely related to breathing differently during and after surgery. It is recommended to take deep breaths throughout the day to open the lungs. If you were given a spirometer device after surgery, use it as directed by the facility. If fever is greater than 100.4 F and it has been more than four days since your surgery, then it is appropriate to call the “on call” provider or report directly to the emergency department.
Numbness and tingling can occur after surgery and/or an injury due to nerve irritation. To help with these symptoms, try icing and elevating the extremity. If you feel that the dressing/bandage is too tight and is a source of pain, it is appropriate to loosen the dressing slightly without removing it all together. Taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/Advil can also help with swelling and pain. Please do not take these medications if you have been instructed not to do so by another doctor or have an allergy to this type of medication.
It is important to note that you will most likely have some pain after surgery. Our goal is to provide you with medication that should make the pain manageable but may not make the pain go away completely. Our providers cannot call in or write prescriptions for pain medication on the weekends. Things that can help manage pain are icing, elevating the extremity above the heart, loosening the bandage/dressing, and/or taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen/Advil, naproxen/Aleve) if needed and is safe for you to do so. If your pain is uncontrolled and you have tried all of the above, you should report to the emergency room for pain management.
If you are experiencing nausea after surgery, try taking your pain medication with food. Taking pain medication or anti-inflammatories without food can be very irritating to the stomach. Try decreasing the amount of pain medication you are taking. If nausea is severe and you are unable to keep food down, it is appropriate to call the “on call” provider or report to the emergency department.
Nerve blocks are performed for many surgeries and can last for anywhere between two and 24 hours. Most blocks wear off within 16 hours. It is normal for you to not be able to feel or move the blocked extremity during this time. As the block wears off, tingling is normal and when feeling begins to return, this is a good time to start your pain medication.
No, please leave the bandage dry and intact until your follow up appointment. Do not remove any drains, pain pumps, packing, or anything else placed by the doctor. Please leave everything alone until your follow up appointment.
It is not appropriate to call the “on call” provider for:
Imaging studies and/or reports
Questions about appointments or scheduling
Please call the office during normal business hours for these and other administrative questions.