Hand surgery

Before your child’s surgery

Things to bring

Pack a bag with slippers, a dressing gown and things to do to keep your child occupied. Bring your child’s Red Book if you have one.

Your child should wear a loose fitting top. Their hand may be in a bulky dressing after their operation.


If you have been given antibiotics or painkillers, please give them to your child as instructed. If your child normally takes any other medications, please give these as per their normal routine unless told otherwise by your doctor.

If applicable, bring your child’s inhaler and any other medications they may normally take on the day.


A maximum of two adults will be allowed in the department and one must be the legal guardian to sign consent.

We unfortunately do not have the facilities to look after other siblings. Please find a baby sitter for your other children.


If your child is unwell with a cough, temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea or any other infectious illness then please contact us for advice.

Please also contact us if you are unable to attend so that your child’s slot can be given to another child.


Please be aware that these admission times are to allow the nursing and anaesthetic staff to carry out the necessary preoperative checks. This is not the time of your child’s operation. This will be decided on the day by the operating surgeon.

Children are usually operated upon in age order unless otherwise dictated by clinical priority. Please be prepared to wait for up to a few hours.

Fasting instructions

If your child is having a general anaesthetic (put to sleep during the procedure):

  • They must not eat after 2:30am for morning operations or 7:30am for afternoon operations
  • They may drink water only until 6:30am for morning operations or 11:30am for afternoon operations (not milk)
  • They must not chew gum or have any other sweets on the day.

If they are having a local anaesthetic (kept awake during the procedure) they may eat and drink as normal before surgery.

General information

Only one parent will be able to accompany their child in to the anaesthetic room until they are put to sleep. After that you will be asked to wait in the parent’s lounge for the duration of the operation.

You will need to stay for approximately two hours after your child’s general anaesthetic until your child is eating and drinking and is comfortable.

You will be advised if you need to come back for an outpatient appointment.

After discharge

Pain relief

It will be helpful to have painkillers at home. Paracetamol and ibuprofen will be suitable for most children. Your doctor can advise you if you are unsure.

Hand elevation

If you have been given a sling, please use it during the day. Your child’s hand should be above the level of their heart. This will reduce swelling and pain.

At night you can remove their hand from the sling. Please rest their hand up on pillows whilst they are lying in bed.

Keep the dressing clean and dry

If your child’s dressing or plaster gets wet or dirty please contact the hospital to ask for advice.

You may need to come in again for a dressing change.

There may be a problem if your child has:

  • Fingers which are dusky or very pale compared to their other fingers
  • Pain that is increasing or that is not controlled with painkillers
  • Their bandage or cast feels too tight because of swelling
  • There is pus or a smelly discharge coming from their wound
  • Their plaster gets wet or starts to break
  • Their hand is bleeding and this doesn’t stop even when you raise their hand above their head and apply firm pressure for five minutes.


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