Preparing for Surgery
Once you and your surgeon 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.
Working with Your Doctor
Before surgery, you should ask your family doctor to perform a complete physical examination to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or the outcomes. Routine blood tests are usually performed a week before any major surgery.
- Discuss any medications you are taking with your family doctor and your anaesthetist to see if you should stop taking any before surgery.
- For joint replacement or other major surgery, the risk of bleeding may be sufficient to require a blood transfusion. If you have religious or other reasons for not consenting to a blood transfusion, please make this very clear prior to embarking on planning for surgery as it may influence the ability to carry out the procedure safely.
- If you are overweight, losing weight before surgery will help decrease the stress you place on your new joint, as well as making the surgery and anaesthesia safer. However, you should not make major dietary changes during the month before your surgery
- If you are taking warfarin, dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) or any anti-coagulation or blood thinning drugs that increase the risk of bleeding you will need to stop taking these before surgery to minimise bleeding. Please discuss this with your surgeon and anaesthetist.
- If you have a history of clots, DVT, or Pulmonary Embolus (PE), either related to surgery or not, additional preventative measures may need to be taken with your surgery. Please discuss this with your surgeon and anaesthetist.
- If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery
- Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later
- Eat a normal well-balanced diet, supplemented if desired by a daily multivitamin with iron
- Report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up
- Thinking ahead to after the surgery, arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping and laundry, if required.
- 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 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. 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