Nerve Surgery Questions

When is my first appointment after surgery?
  • If you have an unexpected clinical concern, you can call our office at any time, as instructed on the written post-operative instructions received in our office at the time of scheduling surgery: Ms. Melanie Lewis (RN, BSN), or Ms. Inga Dixon (Exec. Assist) at (703) 992-9233 or the on call service at (703) 732-7183.
  • The first postoperative office visit is about 8-10 days after surgery for migraine/headache patients who had surgery using upper eyelid incision.
  • All other patients (trunk, extremity, and migraine/headache), are seen in the office 3 weeks after the surgery. Please note that after any surgery, you need to call our office to schedule your post-operative office visit.
How long does the dressing stay on?

This varies with the procedure performed. Overall, patients who had peripheral nerve surgery on the upper or lower extremities keep the operative dressings on for 5-7 days. During that time, the operative dressing needs to be kept dry and clean. Patients who had lower extremity nerve surgery should keep feet elevated as often as they can when sitting down, in order to keep swelling to a minimum.

Activities and ambulation?
  • This varies with the procedure performed. Overall, lower extremity patients can try to weight bear immediately after the surgery. We suggest use of crutches or a walker to help minimize accidental falls.
  • Upper extremity patients can use their hands immediately after surgery. This should be limited to essential hand/arm use. As the surgical pain subsides, they can progressively use them more.
How long will the sutures stay in?

Upper and lower extremity peripheral nerve surgery requires sutures to stay in an average of 3 weeks.

When can I take my steri-strips off?

If used, steri-strips should stay on for at least a week.

When can I get in the shower?
  • Upper or lower extremity patients may shower after they take their dressings off, usually about 6-7th post-op day.
  • Patients who had a procedure done to their trunk, on average, may shower on the third day after surgery.
  • For ALL PATIENTS – While sutures are in place, you should NOT take a bath, go into a jacuzzi, a pool, a lake or an ocean. After taking a shower, while sutures are still in, gently clean the incision with medical rubbing alcohol.
I had upper or lower extremity nerve surgery; my hand feels numb after surgery. Is this normal and for how long will it be present?

It is normal to feel numbness in your hand or foot right after surgery, since intra-operatively a long-lasting numbing medication is used to help overcome initial surgical pain as you are coming out of surgery. As its effect wears off over the next day, sensation slowly returns, although it can be accompanied by variable sensations of nerve ‘tingling’ and even pain as the decompressed nerve is regenerating.

How soon can I go back to work?

Depending on your job, most patients take a week off work, some need 10-14 days off. A few select patients might require more time off (3-4 weeks). Each patient is given recommendations based on their individual presentation; type of surgery performed and job requirements.

How long will it take for me to heal from surgery?

Although a number of variables may affect the healing timeframe, incisional healing usually takes about 2-3 weeks, while the functional outcome of surgery may take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to 3-4 months after surgery.

How often can I get pain medication after surgery?

You will be discharged from the hospital with a prescription for pain medication and the office may refill it one more time. If you continue to need more pain medications, it is recommended that you follow-up with your neurologist, pain management specialist or primary care physician who will monitor how much medication you require. Please note that Dr. Ducic is not a medical pain specialist and prescribes no medications for purposes of medical management of chronic pain. In order to minimize pain medication side effects, and prevent long term narcotic use issues, Dr. Ducic strongly encourages patients to have only one medical provider prescribing and monitoring what and how much pain medications are given to you.

What if I do not have a neurologist or pain specialist?

We can refer you to a doctor here in the area that will help manage your pain.

I live out of state will I have to come back for follow-up?

For our patients that live out of state we recommend you have the sutures and incision looked at by a local physician around 3 weeks after surgery. If there are any questions or concerns you can call our nurse Melanie Lewis, RN, BSN at (703) 992-9233. Dr. Ducic would like for you to call the office or send an email at 3 weeks and at 3 months to give us an update on your outcome from surgery.

When can I drive?

Depending on the surgery, most patients can drive when they are no longer taking pain medication. If surgery is performed on a leg or arm used for driving, it is recommended that you wait until the sutures are removed. Please note that safe driving is your responsibility, so you should ensure that your safety and the safety of others is not compromised.