Preparing For Orthopedic Surgery – What You Need to Know

February 14, 2023 5:48 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Preparing for orthopedic surgery can be intimidating and overwhelming. But with the right plan and preparation, you can get surgery done as quickly and safely as possible.

Get Your Pre-Operative Tests Done

Pre-operative testing is a vital part of orthopedic surgery. It can prevent serious complications from occurring during the operation. It can also help to determine whether you are healthy enough for the surgery and ensure that the surgical team will provide the highest quality of care possible. Most patients need blood tests before surgery. These tests can be a complete blood count, a basic metabolic panel, a coagulation study or a blood type and screen test. Some patients may need additional tests such as an MRI, which measures the function of different organs.

Schedule Your Pre-Operative Consultation

Pre-operative consultations are a way for doctors to assess whether their patients are healthy enough for surgery, find out if more tests are needed and talk about care before, during and after the operation. They can also help patients delay or cancel surgery if they are not well enough. Most patients need a pre-operative visit with a doctor at least a month before the surgery date. The appointment will be a brief checkup to check your health and medical history as well as discuss any issues you might have that could make it harder for you to recover from surgery.

Stop Taking Your Medications

To prepare for orthopedic surgery, you need to stop taking several types of medications. These include narcotics, anti-inflammatory medicines, blood thinners and supplements.

Narcotics: If you are on a narcotic, such as Vicodin or Percocet, please decrease your dosage or stop taking it completely before the day of your surgery. This will help you manage pain after surgery.

Aspirin and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These medicines interfere with blood clotting, which can lead to excessive bleeding during surgery. They should be stopped about 7 days before your surgery. Ask your doctor about using COX-2 inhibitors, which target only the COX-2 enzyme that stimulates inflammation. They are usually more effective and cause less stomach upset than traditional NSAIDs.

Acetaminophen: Taking this over-the-counter pain medicine can reduce the amount of stronger, opioid medications you need to relieve your pain. It also may help with nausea, which can be a common side effect of opioids. Sleeping pills: If you are taking sleeping pills, it is best to stop them a week before your surgery. This is especially true if you have trouble falling asleep or staying awake after a night of sleeplessness.

Other Medications: You should also review your medications and discuss any changes you have made to them with your doctor. Your surgeon and physician anesthesiologist will be able to help you with this.

DMARDs and Leflunomide: If you are taking medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis or other immune system conditions, it is best to stop them for a few days before surgery to allow the drug levels to decrease. Although the perioperative risk of infection is small with these drugs, clinicians should feel comfortable continuing them for a few days after surgery as long as they have ruled out inadvertent drug accumulation.

Prepare Your Home

Your home can be a crucial part of your recovery and healing. Ask your doctor, nurse or physical therapist about getting your home prepared in advance of your surgery. This will help ensure that you are comfortable and able to move around safely when you come back home from the hospital. Make sure that all your medications and essential supplies are easy to access and located on the floor where you spend most of your time. This will also make it easier for you to recover and avoid falls. You may also need to have a caregiver come into your home for a few weeks after your surgery. It is never too important to plan ahead and get your home ready for your surgery.

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