Preparing for Surgery

At Rockhill Orthopaedics, we recognize that surgery often creates concern and anxiety for a patient. Our goal is to make your surgical experience a positive one, both before and after your procedure. While our staff is always available to answer any specific questions you might have pre-operatively, the following reminders will help prepare you for your upcoming surgery.

Know and understand the surgical procedure you will be having.

When your physician recommends surgery, talk to him or her about what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Make sure all your questions are answered. The more you know and understand about the procedure, the better prepared you’ll be after the surgery and your recovery will go more smoothly. Often times, your postoperative appointment can be scheduled at the same time your surgery is scheduled. For some surgeries, you may be directed to call your physician’s office after surgery to schedule the first post-op appointment.

Know your insurance coverage

Our office will make the necessary calls and relay any financial information to you prior to surgery. You may want to contact your insurance company to confirm coverage, co-pays or deductibles.

Obtain preoperative clearance, if required.

Some surgeons may require preoperative clearance, which is usually obtained from your primary care physician. Your surgeon will tell you if pre-surgical clearance is needed.

Keep your personal and medical information readily available

During the weeks leading up to your surgery, various providers will be asking for the same information: insurance coverage, medical history, current medications and medical directives. Having this information readily available makes the process go smoothly.

Prior to Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything (this includes water, chewing gum or hard candy) after midnight the night before your surgery unless otherwise directed by your surgeon.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking for 24 hours prior to surgery.
  • If you develop a cold, sore throat, fever, flu, rash or skin condition near the surgery site, or any other illness develops, call your physician’s office immediately.
  • Discuss with your surgeon when or if you should stop taking aspirin, Ibuprofen, Coumadin prior to surgery.
  • Stop taking herbal products two weeks prior to your surgery. Discuss with your surgeon or PCP whether you are to stop taking vitamins prior to surgery.
  • Take your heart and / or blood pressure medication as usual with a small sip of water.
  • Take insulin as instructed by your PCP or Endocrinologist.
  • Please shower or bathe the evening or early morning, before surgery.
  • Plan ahead for your arrival home. This can include grocery shopping, preparing your home for any special needs you might have, asking someone to stay with you or check on you, even picking up a prescription prior to surgery that you may need afterwards.
  • Arrange for someone to transport you to and from the surgery location.
  • For patients who live alone: Due to the affects of anesthetic, it is a requirement of the surgery center that you have someone who will stay with you for a minimum of 24 hours following your release from the hospital.
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Day of Surgery

  • Bring your photo ID and insurance card with you.
  • Leave all your valuables at home. This includes jewelry, money, credit cards, cell phones and iPads.
  • Do not wear make-up. This includes lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow and nail polish. Also, do not use deodorant, lotion or perfume.
  • Please have acrylic nails removed prior to surgery. This allows for easy application of the pulse oximeter to your finger as well as for your capillary refills to be checked.
  • If you wear contact lenses, bring the storage case and all items needed for wearing them and storing them.
  • You may brush your teeth, but be careful to avoid swallowing any water or toothpaste.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Once admitted for surgery.
  • One to two family members may stay with you until you are wheeled into the operating room. While you are in surgery, your family will wait in the waiting room and your surgeon will talk to them once he or she has completed your surgery.
  • Your anesthesia provider will meet with you before you enter the operating room.
  • You will be given a gown and robe to wear. You will be given blankets if you feel cold. Your belongings will be placed into a plastic bag that will be placed under your cart.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse and temperature will be checked. You will be asked to empty your bladder. An IV will be started by your nurse or by the Anesthesia provider. Once in the Operating Room, EKG patches will be placed on your chest and a blood pressure cuff on your arm. A clip put on your finger measures your oxygen level. Your Anesthesia provider will push medication through your IV that will make you drowsy and allow you to drift off to sleep.

After Orthopedic Surgery

After you’ve awakened, you will be given ice chips or fluids to drink. Your family will be able to see you at some point during this postoperative period. If needed, pain medication will be given. Upon discharge, you will receive oral and written discharge instructions.

Please remember, following anesthesia, your coordination, judgement and ability to react may be impaired for a while after surgery. You should not drive for at least 24 hours postoperatively unless otherwise permitted by your physician.

Remember to follow all your doctor’s instructions when you return home and keep any scheduled post-operative appointments or remember to call and make your postoperative appointment. An outpatient surgery nurse will call you the day after your surgery to see how you’re doing and try to answer any general questions you may have. Unless otherwise instructed, leave on any dressings (if applicable) at the surgical site and make sure the dressings remain clean, dry and intact. Removing dressings without being told to do so by your surgeon can affect the outcome of your surgery. If you have specific questions regarding your surgery, or have concerns or problems following surgery, you should contact your surgeon’s office.

Physical Therapy

Unlike some surgeries, physical therapy and rehabilitation will be critical to the success of your surgical outcome. You may be given post-operative physical therapy instructions during the pre-surgical office visit with your surgeon. Actual physical therapy may start as early as just a few hours after surgery. If you’re an inpatient in the hospital, and your physician has ordered PT for you, a physical therapist will come to your room for therapy or you will be taken to the physical therapy facility in the hospital. Upon discharge, your physician will provide specific instructions on the number of physical therapy sessions per week you are to attend, as well as to provide orders to the therapist on the therapy modalities appropriate to your recovery. Therapy progress reports will be provided to your physician prior to each of your follow-up appointments.

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