A controlled clinical trial of postoperative hand elevation at home following day-case surgery

J Hand Surg Br. 2004 Oct;29(5):458-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsb.2004.04.008.


Although elevation of the upper limb is considered valuable for the prevention and of the reduction of swelling following major surgery or severe injuries to the hand, it is not clear how much elevation, if any, is required following minor surgery such as carpal tunnel decompression. We investigated this by randomizing patients undergoing carpal tunnel decompression into two groups - one having high elevation at home and one being treated with a simple sling. Volumetric analysis of the swelling of the hand 5 days postoperatively showed no significant difference between the two groups. In the trial group, the mean increase in volume of the operated hand was 11 ml (95% CI +4 to +17) or 2.7%. In the control group, the mean swelling was 13 ml (95% CI +4 to +21) or 3.6%. The findings of this study do not support the use of routine high arm elevation following day-case surgery of the hand.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Edema / etiology
  • Edema / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Posture / physiology*