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How to Prepare for Orthopedic Surgery


Updated September 10, 2012

Knowing what will happen on the day of an expected surgery can help you be prepared. Find out what to bring to the hospital, how to prepare, and when to show up. Call your doctor if you have questions specific to your surgery.
Time Required: 1 hour

Here's How:

  1. Arrive Early
    Hospital operating rooms are on a tight schedule, and the use of operating rooms is very expensive. Being late to the hospital could mean having to reschedule the procedure, and wasting of time and resources. There may be some waiting time before the procedure, so it's a good idea to bring a book or magazine to read.

  2. Do Not Eat or Drink
    The length of time to not eat or drink will vary depending on the procedure. The reason for not eating is primarily due to the anesthesia that can cause nausea and vomiting if the stomach is not empty.

    If the surgery will involve the abdomen, there will also be a need to have an empty bowel. Your doctor will provide specific instructions for your preoperative diet-pay close attention to these instructions.

    Your doctor may ask you to take your regular medications with a sip of water in the morning. Check with your doctor about whether or not you should take these medications.

  3. Pack Light
    Your belongings should be limited--it is best to start with less and have someone bring more later. A bag of toiletries and some loose comfortable clothes is a good start. Leave all valuables at home, including cell phones (not allowed in most hospitals), laptops, cash (a few dollars, but no more), and jewelry.

  4. Bring any hospital documents and current medications
    Come to the hospital with your insurance information and any documents your doctor has given to you. Also, have your current medications, in their original containers, with you. Do not copy the medication information separately as it is best for the doctor to have all the information printed from the pharmacist.

  5. What To Expect
    Exactly what will happen in your case will vary depending on the procedure being performed. However, the general schedule of your day will be somewhat consistent. To get an idea of what happens during surgery, I have organized a sample schedule for one common operation, a knee replacement surgery. This will give you an idea of what will happen, who you will see, and what to expect.
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  4. Hip & Knee
  5. Hip & Knee Replacement
  6. Timing of Surgery
  7. Planning for Surgery How to Prepare for Orthopedic Surgery

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