Animesh Agarwal, MDOrthopedic Surgery
Ian Whitney, MDOrthopedic Surgery
Peter Wasky, MDOrthopedic Surgery
Whether your surgical procedure is simple or complex, you’ll feel much better when you understand more about what to expect. Your orthopedic surgeon and care team will have details that relate to your condition and treatment. They’re all working from the same page and stay in constant communication as you prepare for your orthopedic surgery.
Before your surgery is the best time to ask questions and learn how to plan for what will happen and what you’ll need along the way. You can rest assured knowing you’ll have your own room before and after your surgery. You’ll also find it easy to park if you have an extended stay in the hospital.
Things to Consider
Current Medication List
University Health uses an electronic medical record, which helps to keep track of all of your medications.
We recommend that you carry a list of your current medications and doses to take with you to all of your appointments. This can make it easier to let your doctors know what you’re taking, how much and when.
Be sure to check with your doctor to see if you should continue your medications or stop before surgery.
You’ll also want to be sure you’ve got enough of your prescription supply ready at home, so you don’t have to worry about a refill while you recover.
Home Safety Checklist
You might need some adaptations of your everyday environment at home to make you more comfortable after surgery. For example, after a hip or knee surgery, you’ll probably need more room to get around.
We recommend that you do a safety check to get rid of any obstacles you may have around the house. Consider things like whether you may be using a device like a walker, which takes extra room to maneuver. This home safety checklist can help you think of more ways you can get your home ready when you return after surgery.
Preparing for Your Hospital Stay
You may get to go home soon after your orthopedic surgery, or you may expect to stay in the hospital for some time while you recover. Your doctors and your care team can tell you more details about what to expect for the kind of procedure you’re getting.
Items You May Need
- Personal hygiene products like toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, etc.
- Loose-fitting clothes for when you go home
- Glasses, hearing aid(es) with cases for each
- Wheeled walker, labeled with your name and phone number
Do not bring:
- Anything valuable
- Electric equipment
- Medications (unless your doctor asks)
Before You Come to the Hospital
Take a shower or bath before surgery. Your surgeon or anesthesiologist may give you an antibacterial soap or other medical wash to lower the chances of getting an infection.
Use fresh bed sheets at home in the days before your surgery to reduce your risk of getting an infection.
Do not shave the area where you’re having surgery. Clipping may be done at the hospital, if needed.
Before your admission, you may get some phone calls:
- The surgical pre-admissions team may call you to discuss your health history and medications.
- The operating room department will call you the afternoon before your surgery to provide you with more information. If you have not heard from them, you can call the clinic at 210-358-7755.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before your surgery.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes and low-heeled shoes.
- Leave jewelry and valuables at home.
- Bring a valid form of photo identification and your health insurance card.
- Bring an adult with you.
Day of Discharge
When it’s time to go home, you’ll be given a lot of information at once. Before you leave the hospital, be sure you know:
- How to move safely
- How to get in and out of bed
- How to walk with a walker
- How to climb stairs
- Equipment you might need at home
- Information about your home care arrangements, if you need them
- What symptoms you should report to your doctor
- How long to wait before reporting unexpected symptoms
- When you should follow-up with your surgeon and primary care doctor
- Your medication schedule when you get home
- Phone numbers to call back if you have questions for your care team