PATIENT INFORMATION - Pre/Post Operative Guidelines

Pre-Op Instructions:

The surgeons at Saskatoon Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center have collaborated on the following guidelines for your pre-operative care and offer them on our website as a resource for all patients. Please note that the following Pre-Operative Instructions are general guidelines that can be used prior to surgery for most patients. However, every case is unique and if your physician has given you further or differing instructions please follow his or her guidelines. Please read these directions carefully. Your surgery may be cancelled if directions are not followed. If you have any questions please contact your surgeon’s office.

  • Pre-Op Evaluation with Family Physician: Be sure to attend your pre-operative appointment with your family physician and have them complete your History and Physical Form.
  • Before Surgery: Please notify the surgeon’s office as to where you can be reached on the day of surgery (if other than your home).
  • If you have a general or spinal anesthetic, you will not be able to work or drive the remainder of the day. You must make arrangements for someone to be present to take you home after surgery.
  • If you have a general anesthetic or had spinal anesthesia, you should not plan to work or drive the remainder of the day. Please make arrangements for someone to be present to take you home after surgery.
  • Possible complications with your surgery include infection, stiffness, damage to nerves and blood vessels, blood clots, dislodging of blood clots causing an embolus – a serious and rarely fatal complication, ongoing pain, discomfort, and the risks associated with anesthesia. It is important that you understand these risks. If you do not, discuss them with your physician.
  • The condition of your skin is very important. Please wash the surgical limb or area for 10 minutes with soap and a washcloth daily for 3 days prior to surgery. Try to avoid any cuts, scratches or abrasions. If there are any breaks in the skin, please notify your surgeon or support staff immediately.
  • DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Take regularly scheduled medications with a sip of water (if necessary) on the morning of surgery. If you are taking any medication, notify your surgeon and consult with your family physician prior to surgery regarding your medication. Do not take diabetic medication. If you are currently taking any form of diet pill, whether it is prescription or over the counter, please inform the office. If you are taking birth control pills consult with your physician.

What to bring:

  • Your Health Services Card
  • Your Completed History and Physical Form
  • Regular medications in the original container
  • Glasses case
  • Reading material or activities to pass the time
  • A fresh-laundered pair of shorts or underwear to wear in surgery

Lower Extremity surgery

  • Wear shorts, sweats or something loose that will fit over a dressing.
  • If you have crutches, bring them with you.
  • If this is a reconstruction, additional expectations will be discussed as necessary (ie. splinting or bracing).

Upper Extremity surgery

  • You will either be in a sling or immobilizer following surgery, depending on the type of surgery.
  • Please wear a loose fitting, preferably button-front shirt to assure your comfort and ease following surgery.

What not to bring:

  • Large quantities of clothing or articles
  • Credit cards or valuables
  • Please remove make-up, nail polish, piercings and all rings

Arrive Early

  • You will need to be in the hospital at least 3 hours before your surgery to allow nursing and medical staff the opportunity to discuss your surgery and complete your surgical preparation. The anesthesiologist will see you prior to surgery to discuss your anesthesia and answer any questions you may have.
  • Follow-up Appointments Your first post-operative appointment will need to be made within 2 - 4 weeks from the day of surgery, unless your physician tells you otherwise or complications arise.
  • If you have any questions, please call your surgeon.

Post-Op Instructions

The surgeons at Saskatoon Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center have collaborated on the following guidelines for your post-operative care and offer them on our website as a resource for all patients. Please note that the following Post-Operative Instructions are general guidelines that can be used following surgery for most patients. However, every case is unique and if your surgeon has given you further or differing instructions please follow his or her guidelines. As every patient is unique, the timeline for recovery may vary from case to case. Please follow all instructions that your surgeon gave you during your pre- and/or post-operative visit, as he or she may have tailored the general instructions to fit your needs.



Post-Op

  • In the recovery room you may experience mild nausea, disorientation, and occasionally shivering.
  • The stitches that have been used to close the surgical incisions will be covered by sterile gauze pads.
  • You may meet with a physical therapist who will review with you, post-op exercises and activity guidelines to be followed until you see your surgeon for your initial follow-up.
  • They may also indicate when you should plan to see a physical therapist after leaving the hospital/surgical center.
  • Your surgeon may have prescribed a sling or brace.
  • Be sure to use your equipment as instructed. If you were given a set of exercises, be sure to start them according to your surgeon's indications.

Dressings/Drainage

Some drainage of blood and fluids is expected, and may last up to 24 hours. If your dressings become soaked, you may reinforce them with gauze pads available at any pharmacy. Your surgeon will instruct you on when you will be allowed to change your dressings. Remove the dressings and reapply either bandages or a light gauze dressing. You should continue to use a Tensor elastic wrap if one was provided at surgery.

Post-op Expectations

  • Swelling will occur after your surgery.
  • While it is a normal response to the surgery, it can contribute to your pain.
  • Using ice (15-20 min) (each hour) or a cryocuff regularly (every two hours) can help control swelling.
  • If your surgery is of the ankle, knee, elbow or wrist, keeping the limb elevated above your heart will help.
  • If you had shoulder surgery, opening and closing your hand and/or bending and straightening the elbow repetitively is helpful.
  • If your Tensor elastic wrap feels too tight, feel free to remove it and rewrap a bit looser.
  • This will prevent the swelling from localizing near the surgical site.
  • Some discomfort and bruising is to be expected following surgery.
  • The muscles atrophy and motion is often difficult.
  • You may experience a variety of transient symptoms in the area of the wounds, including itchiness, increased sensitivity to touch, and numbness.

Activities/Driving/Return to Work/Bathing

  • You may return to your regular activities as directed by your surgeon, the post-op rehab protocol and as pain allows.
  • You should continue to use any braces, splints, slings and immobilizers until specifically told otherwise by your surgeon.
  • You may drive when cleared by your surgeon.
  • You may return to work as soon as you feel able and performing your regular job is possible given your specific post-op restrictions.You may begin to shower 2-4 days after surgery.
  • Remove the dressings (except the skin tapes), shower quickly, dry carefully and reapply clean dressing.
  • If your doctor has instructed you to keep the area dry, try taping a plastic bag around the area while showering.
  • Even after your doctor has said that you may get the area wet, do not scrub the area.
  • Let the water run over the incisions and wash gently with soap and water, pat dry, and cover with a dry dressing until the stitches, staples or steri-strips have been removed.
  • Do not swim, use a hot tub, whirlpool, or any other communal facility until the surgical scars are well healed.

Fever/Infection

A low-grade fever is not uncommon. If you develop a significant fever, or if you develop redness or excess drainage from your incision(s), call your surgeon’s office immediately for further instructions.
 

Follow Up Appointments

If you have not already scheduled your follow up appointment, please call your surgeon’s medical assistant to do so.