How long will I be in the hospital and what should I bring?
All these surgeries are done as day cases and the patient can go home the same day. They need to bring their medications and the prescription. It is advisable for the patient to have showered that morning and to wear clean socks.
What are the risks?
Most surgical interventions are safe and get a good result 90-92 percent of the time. There are always risks of infection, wound breakdown, poor bone and wound healing, loosening of the wire, recurrence of the deformities, very rarely chronic neuropathic pain and loss of circulation of the toes, the latter being extremely rare.
When can I drive again?
Generally diving is possible after 4 weeks. If one has an automatic car and the left foot was operated upon, then one can drive earlier. Manual cars generally will need to wait after the dressings are off and the wires removed. It is advisable for the patient to inform their insurance company prior to driving again.
When can I go back to work?
Most can go back to work by 3-4 weeks for soft tissue surgery. For bony operations one may need about 8 weeks. It also depends on one’s profession and the amount of standing one has to do. Many desk jobs can go back earlier and this can be decided by the employer and the type of work. A sick note will be provided at the request of the patient.
When can I do housework?
All small chores can be done from day one after surgery. Periods of rest is advised in between. Most patients can manage their day to day living even if single and may need the occasional help especially if both feet and multiple toes are operated.
When can I have sex?
Patients can have sex as soon as they feel comfortable and to be wary when there are wires in the toes. A common sense approach is advisable.
How will I know the surgery has been successful?
The surgeon will generally let you know on the same day, but the results will be seen at the first post operative visit. Patient and the surgeon can appreciate the difference from the preoperative appearance of the toes. Xrays of the bony procedure will show the bone healing of the PIPJ fusion generally at 6-8 weeks. Usually the surgeon will see you once post operatively for soft tissue procedures and maybe 2-3 visits for bony procedures.
What is the recovery timeline?
Most will recover well by 8 weeks and the swelling will generally settle down, rarely in a few the bone may not heal very well and may take longer and the toes may need to be taped for a few more weeks.
When should I get back in touch with the surgeon?
Any symptoms of being unwell, fever, pain not managed by simple analgesia after the first 2-3 days and night pain should bring to the notice of the surgeon. Post operative appointments are routinely made by the surgeon as and when.