Patient Education: Volar Splint After RFFF

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Volar Splint Care Instructions After Radial Forearm Free Flap Surgery

1. Wearing the Splint

  • Consistency: Wear the volar splint continuously as directed by your healthcare provider. It is typically recommended to keep the splint on at all times during the initial weeks post-surgery.
  • Adjustment: Ensure the splint is snug but not too tight. It should stabilize the forearm without causing any pain or cutting off circulation.

2. Splint Maintenance

  • Keep Dry: Keep the splint dry at all times. When bathing, cover the splint with a waterproof cover or use a sponge bath to avoid getting it wet.
  • Clean Regularly: If the splint is removable, clean your skin and the inside of the splint daily with a damp cloth. Dry thoroughly before reapplying.

3. Skin Care

  • Skin Inspection: Check the skin around the splint daily for any signs of pressure sores, irritation, or infection. If the skin is red, swollen, or painful, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Hygiene: Keep the skin clean and dry. Use a soft cloth and mild soap for cleaning around the splint.

4. Activity and Movement

  • Rest and Elevation: Keep the arm elevated as much as possible to reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Limit Movement: Avoid any strenuous activities or movements that cause pain or discomfort in the surgical area. Follow your doctor's advice on when you can start gentle range-of-motion exercises.

5. Pain Management

  • Manage Pain: Take prescribed pain medications according to your doctor’s instructions. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also be used unless contraindicated.
  • Ice Therapy: You may use ice packs over the splint to reduce swelling. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap ice packs in a cloth and apply for up to 20 minutes every hour as needed.

6. Follow-Up Care

  • Attend Follow-Up Appointments: Visit your healthcare provider for scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process and adjust treatment as necessary.
  • Report Concerns: Immediately report any issues such as increased pain, swelling, signs of infection (redness, warmth, discharge), or any unusual smells from the splint area to your doctor.

7. Warning Signs to Watch For

  • Signs of Compromise: Watch for signs of decreased blood flow in the fingers, such as tingling, numbness, or a bluish color. If these symptoms occur, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

By following these instructions carefully, you can help ensure a smooth recovery and prevent complications after your radial forearm free flap surgery. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance tailored to your specific condition and needs.