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What is hand surgery?

Specialized hand surgeries are designed to alleviate pain and restore strength, flexibility and function of your hand and fingers. If you have been struggling with mobility or pain in your hands, it may be time to seek the opinion of a hand specialist to improve the function of your hands.


The most common reasons for hand surgery with Dr. Brooks are listed in detail below, but there are many more reasons patients see him including De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, Dupuytren’s contracture and more that are even harder to spell.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve. The median nerve runs from your forearm to the palm of your hand. The median nerve sends sensation signals to the palm side of your hand and fingers and controls the muscles at the base of your thumb.


When a median nerve gets compressed at the narrow passageway of your wrist, the result is pain, tingling, weakness, burning or numbness in your hand and wrist.  The same uncomfortable sensation can radiate up your arm.  There are three stages of severity of symptoms: mild, moderate and severe. Before seeing Dr. Brooks, your family doctor may send you for nerve conduction tests to determine how severe your carpal tunnel is. 


The goal of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve the pressure on your median nerve by releasing the ligament that presses up on it.

Dr. Brooks is happy to educate you on the surgical steps for the procedures listed above.

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Hand Surgery

Hand surgery is performed to treat injuries caused by trauma and to correct abnormalities that were present at birth.

Results of Dr. Trevor Brooks’ surgeries can be viewed on his social media feed.

    • You can request to see Dr. Brooks for reconstructive hand surgery. Visit your family doctor or a walk-in physician and ask for a referral.

    • Alberta Health will cover your initial consultation.

    • During your initial consultation, you will meet Dr. Brooks to discuss your hand surgery in detail. The surgical steps of your procedure will be explained, and all of your questions will be answered.

    • Dr. Brooks will provide specific post-operative instructions so you know what to expect during and after your procedure.

    • Local anesthetic is commonly used for hand surgery; you will be extremely comfortable.

    • The length of your surgery depends on the procedure Dr. Brooks is performing; the estimated time will be reviewed during your consultation.

    • Call Dr. Brooks or go to a walk-in-clinic if you have any of the following:

      • A fever over 37 degrees.

      • Yellow, green or foul-smelling drainage.

      • A large red area around the incision.

      • An allergic reaction to the medications or dressings (this could be shortness of breath, a rash/redness, hives, etc.)

    • Your follow-up appointment:

      • Dr. Brooks will want to see you 2-4 weeks after major surgery or 6-8 weeks after minor surgery. To ensure you get in within this time, please call 403-487-0460 promptly after your surgery to set the appointment. He will tell our reception team & you what timeline for follow-up is appropriate. 

    • Dressing/Bandages after surgery:

      • If your hand is in a splint, please disregard the instructions below and leave your dressing intact. The Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy department will call you to set up your appointment, should you require one. If you do not hear from them and Dr. Brooks told you that you would, please call our office and we will arrange it. 

      • The large pressure dressing applied in the operating room should remain on, dry and intact for 1-3 days following surgery. You may shower or bathe during this time if you keep the dressing dry - use a bag or bathe with the area out of the water. Pat dry, no aggressive rubbing. 

      • If you have steri-strips under your large bandage, let them fall off on their own. 

      • After the 3rd day remove the large dry dressing and protect your incision with a band-aid for 2-3 weeks. Once the steri-strips fall off on their own, you can start to apply a very thin layer of Polysporin and continue to cover with a band-aid. 

      • After the 3rd day water may now run over the area (shower/hand washing), but you are not to submerge the area in water for 3 weeks (no baths, hot tubs, pools, ocean/lake water or dishwater).  

      • Your sutures are dissolvable and submerging them in water could open your incision up.  

      • Your sutures are dissolvable (unless Dr. Brooks has said otherwise and rather has set you up for suture removal at the hospital).  Dissolving sutures can take a full 4 weeks to completely dissolve. Occasionally they don’t dissolve so easily, and in that case, you may need to call Dr. Brooks to have him look at them.  

      • If it has been 3 weeks, and your incision has no open areas, then you can massage them to try to get them to break up. If you are not sure how, wait and Dr. Brooks will show you at your follow-up. 

    • Medication after surgery:

      • Take your regular medication as prescribed (unless Dr. Brooks has specifically instructed you otherwise). 

      • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, unless Dr. Brooks has instructed you otherwise.

      • Avoid ibuprofen (Advil) and inflammatory medication (Aleve) for the first 4 days.

      • If you are prescribed an antibiotic, finish the entire prescription.

    • Return to work after surgery:

      • Most patients take 2 weeks off and can return to work during weeks 3-4 after the surgery with modified duties. This can vary depending on your line of work and how involved the surgery was.

      • People with jobs that require heavy lifting may require more time before returning to full duties. Dr. Brooks can provide you with a work note.

    • Activity after surgery:

      • Begin moving your hands and fingers on the day of surgery, but do not use your hand for any activities until the large dressing is removed.

      • Swelling is normal. Elevate the area above the level of your heart to minimize swelling, and keep the area elevated on a pillow while sleeping.

      • Off and on, apply an ice pack as needed to the area for the first 3-4 days. 

      • Do not use heat.

      • If the area is on your hand, avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling any object heavier than 10 lbs for the first 2 weeks (for reference, a 4L milk jug is 9 lbs).

      • Wait to use exercise equipment until Dr. Brooks gives you the go-ahead.

      • Avoid driving until you can safely operate a vehicle. If you are on pain medication, you must wait until you are finished with the medication).

      • You may begin scar massage at 2-3 weeks (if there are no open areas to the incision). Use firm pressure and cream (Vitamin A, Vitamin E, or Aloe Vera are all excellent choices), and push against the direction of the scar (perpendicular).

      • The skin around the incision will peel, this is normal.

      • A high-quality vitamin and silicone scar gel is available at Dr. Brooks’ office, but many are available at most pharmacies as over-the-counter products.

    • Sunshine:

      • After 3 weeks, if your surgical site is to be exposed to sun, apply an SPF 45 or higher sunscreen and for at least 1 year after continue to prevent the scar from changing to a darker colour.

    • Diet after surgery:

      • Resume your regular diet.

      • Drink plenty of fluids.

      • Stay away from alcoholic beverages for 1 week.

      • Limit caffeinated beverages for 1 week.

      • Avoid smoking/vaping for 3 months before, but at least 4 weeks before and 6 weeks after surgery for better wound healing. Nicotine constricts blood vessels.

What to expect from a hand surgery

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