Preparing for Surgery
Once you and your Doctor decide that surgery will help you, you’ll need to learn 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.
If you are having a total joint replacement at Alta Bates Hospital, please also refer to the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Orthopaedic Surgery Handbook
Working with Your Doctor
Before surgery, your doctor will give you a complete physical examination to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or its outcome. Routine tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, are usually performed before any major surgery.
- Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor and your primary physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.
- Discuss with your doctor options for preparing for potential blood replacement, including donating your own blood, medical interventions and other treatments, prior to surgery.
- If you are overweight, losing weight before surgery will help decrease the stress you place on your new joint. However, you should not undergo any major diets during the month before your surgery.
- If you are taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, warfarin, or any drugs or supplements that increase the risk of bleeding you will need to stop taking them one week before surgery to minimize bleeding.
- If you smoke, you should stop or cut down at least several weeks in advance to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
- If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, maintaining proper blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C levels is important in the preoperative period and following your procedure. You should consult with your primary medical doctor and/or endocrinologist.
- Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
- Report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.
- Arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping and laundry.
- Put items that you use often within easy reach before surgery so you won’t have to reach and bend as often.
- Remove all loose carpets and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls.
- Make sure you have a stable chair with a firm seat cushion, a firm back and two arms.
Preparing for Procedure
If you are having Same Day Surgery, remember the following:
- Have someone 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 anaesthesia, 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 food 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 directed. For the first 2-3 days, begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain.
Please refer to the Discharge Instructions Sheet as appropriate for your surgery