Preparing for Surgery

Surgery Preparation and Optimal Post-Surgical Healing

At Sports & Orthopaedic Specialists, we work closely with you and your Primary Care Provider, to determine whether or not orthopaedic surgery is necessary for your optimal health outcome. This section will provide you with useful information, regarding the information your Orthopaedic Specialist Physician will need, as well as helpful tips in preparing for surgery and post-surgical healing.

Communicating With Your Physician

digitalxrayWe will perform an intake visit to evaluate your health needs, which may include taking current X-rays. It will be important to arrive at this visit at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time, in order to complete all paperwork and all preliminary assessments.

At this visit, our physicians will perform an evaluation and work closely with you to explain the proposed treatment plan and go over any recommended procedures, in order to achieve optimal results. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, and to ensure that you are feeling confident and well-informed, as to the next steps. Physical and mental preparation for surgery is an essential component to a successful outcome.

In addition, it is important to discuss with your Orthopaedic Specialist Physician any and all medications you may be taking. If you are currently taking anti-inflammatory medications, you should be aware that you will need to cease this intake for up to 10 days prior to a scheduled surgery, to lower potential health risks. Your physician will discuss with you the medications that are considered safe to take, leading up to the surgery.

Be sure to report any current infections to your physician, as well as any other health problems you are currently experiencing, even those unrelated to orthopaedic surgery.

Steps You Can Take to Reduce Risks

If you are a smoker, please plan to reduce or eliminate this habit, in the weeks leading up to a surgery. Non-smokers have significantly lower rates of infections and complications, and shorter healing times than smokers.

Obesity puts extra stress on the joints and can increase the risk of anesthesia complications. If you are overweight, work on lowering your Body Mass Index (BMI) during the waiting period.

Dental issues should be addressed and resolved, prior to surgery, to reduce postoperative risk of infections.

About Your Surgery

Your surgery will be performed at one of our two trusted facilities; Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, or the SanTan Surgery Center. Most surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis meaning you will return home the same day. If necessary, you may be kept overnight. Of course, joint replacement surgery will require admission to the hospital for 1 or 2 days. In most cases, a special pre-op visit to the hospital will not be required. You will be instructed to arrive early to complete necessary lab work. Expect to spend approximately 6 hours at the hospital. It will be necessary to have someone accompany you especially to drive you home. It is a good idea to have someone available to be with you the night of your surgery.

You may be requested to receive a pre-operative clearance from your medical doctor (primary care doctor). Please be sure to discuss this aspect of care with your surgeon.

When you arrive at the hospital, you will meet members of the anesthesia team who will discuss your anesthesia plan with you. They may recommend a nerve block in addition to general anesthesia. The nerve block will reduce the amount of anesthesia you require making your recovery easier. It will also provide post-operative pain control for up to 12 hours. Your doctor highly recommends these nerve blocks.

In general our operative days are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Of course we sometimes have to adjust the schedule to accommodate emergencies. You will be contacted by a member of the hospital staff on the day before your surgery to determine what time you will need to arrive at the hospital.

For shoulder surgery patients, you will likely go home with a brace. You are expected to sleep in the brace. It is not uncommon for the shoulder and chest region to be swollen from the fluid used during your procedure. It is helpful to sleep in an upright position so that your swelling drains away from the shoulder. You will not be allowed to remove your arm from the brace or use it until directed by your surgeon or therapist.

For knee surgery patients, you will likely go home in a rigid brace and crutches. Your weight-bearing status will be determined at the time of your surgery. Keep your leg elevated as much as possible in the days following your surgery. If you develop swelling in your foot, it is imperative that you get off your feet and elevate your leg immediately. It is important to sleep in your brace.

For all patients, you will not be permitted to drive until you are off your pain medication. Patients with lower extremity surgery (especially the right leg) will not be permitted to resume driving until they have regained sufficient motor control (you will be notified by your doctor or therapist when it is safe to resume driving.).

You will be contacted by an independent vendor regarding cold therapy and muscle electrostimulation units. These will help speed your recovery, reduce swelling, and control your post-operative pain. In many cases part or all of the cost will be covered by your health insurance. If not, you will be offered the opportunity to lease or purchase these units at a discount. This decision is entirely up to you, but the vast majority of patients feel that this is the best money they have spent.

Preparing for Assistance, After Surgery

You will receive detailed patient discharge instructions, after a surgery, to ensure proper wound care and optimal healing. However, it is also important to begin preparations for assistance, in the postoperative phase of your recovery.

If you will have outpatient day surgery (no overnight stay), please plan to have someone stay at the surgery center to assist you, directly following the procedure. You will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours, after discharge, in order to allow for the anesthetic and initial pain medication to clear your system.

Depending on the type of surgical procedure you undergo, you may find that you are unable to perform many regular household tasks for a few days, or up to several weeks. Your physician will be able to give you an estimation as to how long this phase of your recovery will last. It will be important to secure transportation, help with meals, cleaning, shopping, and laundry.

Prior to your surgery, rearrange things around your home so that you may access them easily, from where you will be resting and recovering. Stock the area with water, healthy snacks, and plenty of reading material. Watching comedies has been proven to aid with physical healing, and makes the days go by a little faster.

For more information on how Sports & Orthopaedic Specialists can assist you, please contact our office at (480) 222-5601. We look forward to our first visit! Remember, at Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists, we are dedicated to restoring you to your winning lifestyle!

About Your Recovery

Following surgery, you will be placed into a post-operative brace. Wear the brace as directed in the discharge instructions. In most cases, you are expected to begin therapy 2-3 days following your surgery. Physical therapy is an integral component of your recovery. Your therapist has been specially selected for their expertise in the treatment of your sports related injury. It is advisable to plan to be away from work or school for the first few days after surgery.

You are encouraged to rest and recuperate for those days as much as possible. For shoulder surgery patients, sleeping upright in, a recliner type of chair will help reduce the swelling from surgery. For knee surgery patients, lie flat on your back with the operated leg elevated on pillows. If you have been given a block in the hospital, be sure to take your pain medicine before retiring for the night whether you have pain or not. It is important not to fall behind into too much pain and then try to catch up with the pills.