Pre- and post-operation instructions for patients
Once you and your doctor decide that surgery is right for you, you'll need to know what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.
Before surgery, your orthopaedic doctor, orthopaedic nurse practitioner, or your primary care physician will give you a complete physical examination. Who performs this examination will depend on your past medical history. You may need certain blood tests, or other routine tests done to assure safety with anesthesia.
At the time of your physical or pre-surgical visit, discuss any medications you are taking to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery. A pre-surgical nurse specialist will also contact you to make sure you have stopped the appropriate medications and have completed any necessary blood work or studies.
You will have crutch training completed prior to your surgical procedure.
If you are taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, Warfarin or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, you will need to stop taking them one week before surgery to minimize bleeding. Please discuss stopping the use of any of these medications with the physician who prescribed them for you (primary doctor, cardiologist, etc) prior to doing so.
If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
Report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.
Have someone available to take you home. You will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours, and possibly up to several weeks depending on your narcotic medication intake, type of procedure, and which leg is your surgical leg.
The combination of anesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal such as clear liquids for the first 12-24 hours.
You will be given specific post-surgical instructions at your time of discharge. But remember a few key points:
Protected weight bearing on crutches may be required after surgery depending on what type of resurfacing you have completed. Continuous Passive Motion or CPM is commonly used and this will be arranged through your insurance company for your use at home.
Patients may need to undergo several weeks of physical therapy to restore motion, strength and function.
Although complete recovery from the operation involving return to full normal function varies by not only patient but also by type of resurfacing, we hope that by three months most patients have noticed a gradual improvement lasting many months longer than that.