You likely will have many appointments as you heal from surgery or an injury. These range from an initial consultation with an orthopedist to surgery and other treatments. Here is what to expect at your initial appointment and beyond.
During your first appointment
Your orthopedic surgeon will ask you about your symptoms, do a physical exam and schedule you for any follow up tests and treatments. Make sure to bring:
- Insurance card
- Photo ID
- Any forms you were sent to fill out ahead of time
- List of current prescription and over-the-counter medications, the dosage of each and why you take it
- A list of any drug allergies
- A list of any questions you have related to your health condition (if applicable)
- Referrals (if applicable)
In the weeks leading up to orthopedic surgery
At the Center for Orthopedic Medicine, we believe an informed patient is a happy and healthy patient. That’s why we encourage you to ask questions about your upcoming surgery. It’s also why we ask all patients who will be receiving a joint replacement to attend an informational class. This 90-minute class will introduce you to the entire orthopedic care team and help you get ready for surgery. You’ll learn what you need to do before and after surgery so you can recover fully and quickly. Register for a Total Joint Replacement class.
You’ll recover more quickly and reduce your risk for complications if you show up for surgery as healthy as possible. If you smoke, now is a great time to quit or reduce your dependence. Try to eat as healthfully as possible too.
About two weeks before your surgery
If you will be undergoing surgery at the Center for Orthopedic Medicine-Tilghman, you’ll receive a phone call about two weeks before your surgical date. During this call, a nurse will ask you many questions about your medical history, your state of health and the medications you take. If necessary, you’ll also be scheduled for any pre-surgical lab work or tests during this call. If you undergo surgery at any of our other locations, a nurse will do an intake on your surgical date.
The day before surgery
A nurse will call you the day before your surgery and tell you what time to check in. If you are having your surgery on a Monday, you may receive this call on a Friday. Use these pointers:
- If you are sick or have an infection, call your surgeon and mention it.
- Arrange to have someone drive you to and from the hospital.
- Do not smoke the day before or day of your surgery.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight.
- Make sure to follow your care team’s advice on what prescription medications to take or not take the night before and morning of your surgery.
- Follow your care team’s instructions for showering and bathing. You’ll be asked to shower with Hibiclens, a disinfectant, the night before your surgery. Do not use this product on your face, head or private parts.
- Do not shave your legs the night before or the day of surgery.
The morning of your surgery
You’ll be asked to come in as much as an hour before your surgery.
- Do not wear jewelry or have any valuables with you.
- If you were told to take medication, do so only with a sip of water. Otherwise do not eat or drink anything.
- Bring along your photo ID, health insurance card, pharmacy card, a copy of your advanced directive or living will, and a list of all of the prescription and over-the-counter prescriptions you take.
- Bring a case holder for contact lenses, eyeglasses, dentures and hearing aids.
- Do not wear makeup or use lotion, powder or perfume.
- Remove nail polish from the arm or leg undergoing surgery.
What to expect during and after surgery
On the day of your surgery, you’ll check in at the front desk and go to a holding/staging area, where you’ll change into a hospital gown and slippers. The surgery itself may take one-to-two hours. Then you’ll recover in the post-anesthesia care unit until the anesthesia wears off.
Your family is welcome to stay in the waiting room during your surgery. We will let them know when you are out of surgery. If your family does not plan to stay, please provide a phone number so we can call them after your surgery.
If you are staying overnight, you’ll complete the rest of your in-hospital recovery in either a private or a semi-private room. If you had outpatient surgery and will be going home, arrange for someone to drive you and also to stay with you for 24 hours.
Upon your return home, you may wish to avoid stairs for a week or longer. If you live in a multistory house, consider sleeping on the first floor during the first week of your recovery.