Day of Surgery and Post-Op Instructions

Day of Surgery

  • You may have a full evening meal the night before your surgery. Please have nothing to eat after midnight (this includes milk).
  • For your safety, eating or drinking anything (this includes gum, candy or mints) on the day of day of surgery may result in the rescheduling or cancellation of your procedure. You will be given specific instructions on this at the time of your Pre-Op phone call.
  • Bathe or shower and brush your teeth before coming to the surgery center. Avoid swallowing water when rinsing your mouth.
  • Arrive at the surgery center one hour before your scheduled surgery time.
  • Bring a case for eyeglasses or contact lenses for storage as you will not be able to wear them during surgery.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Do not wear jewelry.
  • Do not wear makeup or nail polish.
  • Please leave large amounts of cash or valuables at home. You may need to bring payment for prescriptions that are to be filled after surgery.

Generic Orthopedic Post-Op Instructions

After surgery you will be given specific instructions. The following are very basic orders and you would need physician instruction to clarify dressing instructions, appointments and whether to take anti-inflammatory medication.

  • Take medication for pain as directed by the label on the prescription bottle. Pain pills should be taken with food as they can cause nausea. Drink and eat plenty of fluids and fruits to help avoid constipation. Plan ahead, as pain prescriptions are not refilled after hours or on weekends.
  • Do not drink alcohol, drive a vehicle, sign a legal document, or be responsible for a minor the first 24 hours post surgery due to the sedatives and/or anesthesia received during surgery.
  • Activity: rest for the first couple of days with operated extremity elevated on pillows above the heart to control swelling. Use the extremity as able, using common sense. It is important to move it to increase blood circulation and prevent joint stiffness.
  • Use ice to control swelling. Apply ice for 20 minutes each hour, making sure ice bag does not leak into dressing.
  • Loosen the ace wrap if any numbness or tingling continues after 24 hours post surgery.
  • Do not remove dressing unless specifically instructed to do so by your surgeon. Keep it clean and dry. The original dressings need to remain in place at least the first 48 hours. Some bleeding is to be expected from the surgical incision, and the dressing may need to be reinforced. If necessary remove the ace wrap, place new dressing over the original dressing, and reapply the ace wrap.
  • Diet: Advance to regular foods as tolerated.
  • Make your follow-up appointment with your physician as instructed.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Severe, unrelenting pain in the operated site.
  • Swelling that is not helped with ice and elevation.
  • If your fingers or toes become blanched white or bluish in color and feel cool to the touch.
  • If you develop a fever of 101 degrees, with chills and/or flu-like symptoms.

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