Surgery Preparation

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Orthopaedic Surgery

Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step.

If you and your physician decide that surgery is the next step, you’ll need to learn what to expect and create a treatment plan. Understanding the process and your role will help you recover more quickly.
Nuvance Health Surgical PatientsOur Nuvance Health surgical patients can access detailed information on our knee and hip replacement procedures and what to expect by reviewing our guidebooks:

patient and doctor doing a handshake

Working with your doctor

Your doctor is on your team, so ask all the questions you may have.

    Before surgery, you will undergo routine tests under the direction of your primary care physician, including blood tests, x-rays, and a physical examination.
    Discuss all medications you are currently taking with your surgeon and your family physician to determine if there are any that you should stop taking before surgery.
    If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to improve your recovery and reduce any risks associated with surgery. You should have any tooth, gum, bladder, or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
    See a dentist if you have not seen one in the past 6 months.
    Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
    Report any existing infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared.

Preparing your arrival home

Before your procedure, you should prepare your home by following these steps:

    Arrange for someone to help with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping, and laundry.
    Put items that you frequently use within easy reach, so you won’t have to reach and bend as often after surgery.
    Remove throw rugs or area rugs not anchored by furniture.
    Clear any obstacles in halls and walking paths. Tape down any wires that may be in these paths.
    Install non-skid mats in the tub/shower you will be using.
    Move the most commonly used items in the kitchen, bedroom, and bathrooms to a more comfortable height. This should be about the counter or sink level, usually waist level.
    Install night lights in bathrooms and halls.
    Prepare meals prior to your surgery and freeze them.
    Set up a firm armchair to use after surgery. If you are having a total hip replacement, put a pillow on the chair.
    Find a location in your home where your pet can stay while you get settled after your discharge.

Preparing for the procedure - Day Surgery

If you are having Day Surgery, remember the following:

    Make sure someone is available to take you home; you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours.
    Do not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip home.
    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 and try to avoid greasy foods for the first 24 hours.
    If you had surgery on an extremity (leg, knee, hand, or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain.
    Take your pain medicine as prescribed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling it.

Preparing for the procedure - Inpatient

If you will be an Inpatient in the Hospital, the night before surgery a nurse from the Surgical Unit will call to let you know:

    What time to arrive.
    What medications to take on the morning of surgery.
    DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight.

Things to bring on the day of surgery

Here is a list of things you need to bring on the day of your surgery, as well as some optional recommendations:

    All paperwork that was given to you by your physician’s office.
    Two forms of ID (one must be a picture ID).
    A list of ALL medications you take, including vitamins or supplements.
    A book, magazines, music, etc.
    Please leave any valuables at home.
    A physician is on call for emergencies at (203) 775-6205 on a 24-hour basis, if the urgent need arises.