In the days and weeks leading up to your surgery, you will need to start preparing yourself, both mentally and physically. Any surgery can be stressful, but with enough preparation, much of your anxiety will go away.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for surgery is by learning about the surgical procedure and asking questions of your doctor. Well-informed patients are often more satisfied with the results of their surgery. Before you arrive at the hospital:
- Meet with your doctor and anesthesiologist. Some hospitals include this as part of the pre-operative assessment.
- Ask many questions of your doctor and anesthesiologist, such as about the risk of complications, healing time, type of anesthesia that will be used and the best ways to speed your recovery.
Attending Your Pre-Operative Assessment
Many hospitals require that you meet with a doctor or nurse before your surgery—either in person or over the phone—one or more days before your operation. During this meeting, you will be asked about:
- Your health
- Your medical history
- Results of previous tests
- Medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you are taking.
You may also be required to have pre-surgery blood tests. Be sure to follow any directions that your doctor gives you, such as fasting before surgery, when to stop taking your usual medications and what to bring with you.
Fasting Before Surgery
You may be required to stop drinking or eating before your surgery. It’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions because having food or liquid in your stomach can cause you to vomit during or after surgery.
Packing For Your Trip
Pack an overnight bag with the essentials, such as:
- Nightgown or pajamas
- Day clothes and clean underwear
- Toiletries, including razor and travel-sized bath products
- Books or magazines
- Small amount of money
- Your usual medications
Bring loose-fitting clothes to wear after your surgery. Button-down shirts will be easier to put on than pullovers. Pants with elastic bands may be more comfortable after surgery.
Getting To and From the Hospital
After surgery, you may not feel well enough to drive yourself home. Make arrangements with your friends or family beforehand. Some hospitals may provide assistance with transportation after surgery.
Preparing Your Home for Recovery
When you arrive home after your surgery, the last thing you want to do is worry about shopping for food or cleaning your house. Stock up on healthy foods, buy extra personal hygiene products and medical supplies, and change the linens on your bed.
Take care of these things before your surgery, or ask a friend or family member to help you during your recovery. This may include asking someone to stay at your house to keep an eye on you.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Having a healthy lifestyle can speed your recovery after surgery, and reduce the complications and pain associated with surgery. Make changes to your life before surgery, as soon as possible:
- Eat healthier: increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, cut back on foods high in saturated fats and reduce your intake of processed meats.
- Exercise more: Most guidelines suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.
- Reduce your alcohol intake (or stop completely) at least 1 month before surgery. Alcohol can interact with anesthesia and cause excessive bleeding or liver damage.
- Stop smoking at least 2 weeks before surgery. Smoking increases the risk of infection and surgery complications. Quitting before surgery can also help you heal faster.
No one wants to find out that they need surgery. There can be many scary unknowns. However, there are times when an operation is an absolute must to relieve pain, cure conditions, and restore health. If you have come to that point and your doctor has just informed you that you need surgery, you may feel a little overwhelmed or afraid.
Although your doctor may be 100% right that you need a surgical procedure, there is always room for human error or opinion-based decisions. There are times when a second opinion should not be just thought of as an option—it should be considered a must. How do you know when it’s the right idea to get a second opinion?
There is No Rule
There is no specific rule that gives you a clear-cut line when you should get a second opinion. However, there are some things you should discuss with your doctor or research on the Internet. Asking the right questions will tell you a few things.
- Why do you think I need this operation?
- Are there other alternative options to surgery to consider?
- What would happen if I chose not to have surgery?
- What are the risks and dangers of this surgery?
- Will the operation completely improve my condition or will I still have problems?
- Will there be negative changes to my body as a direct result of the surgery?
- Are you 100% confident that surgery is my only option?
If you can, get these answers from your doctor.
It is Your Decision
The bottom line is, it is your decision. Even if you cannot find any other option but surgery, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion to ensure that it’s the right option for you. Often if you are having trouble committing to the surgery, then hearing the same advice from another expert can confirm what you know and help you go ahead with that decision.
When should you get a second opinion? Often, you will want to consult another professional if there is any waver or if there are any other treatment options. Bottom line – it is your decision.
Dr. Steven Triantafyllou will be doing a presentation on Common Back and Neck Problems at OSS Health, 1855 Powder Mill Road, on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6 p.m. He will talk about the most common back and neck issues, when to seek medical attention, treatment options and also preventative tips. Dr. Triantafyllou is an orthopaedic surgeon with special expertise and training in spine surgery.
Please RSVP to Angie Hartman at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 717-747-8382 if you plan on attending. We hope to see you there!
Dr. Brent Hines will be doing a free presentation at OSS Health on Treatment Options for the Aging Shoulder. He will talk about less pain, improved mobility, recovery and reverse shoulder replacements. Dr. Hines is an orthopaedic surgeon with special training and expertise in shoulder surgery.
The presentation will be held at OSS Health, 1855 Powder Mill Road, at 6 p.m. Please RSVP to Angie Hartman email@example.com or at 717-747-8382 if you plan on attending. We hope to see you there!
If your doctor has scheduled you for an operation, you are probably already wondering what’s it like to have surgery?
For most people, just the thought of having surgery can be stressful. You can reduce much of your anxiety by learning what to expect both during surgery and recovery afterwards.
- Inpatient surgery: Done in a hospital, inpatient surgery requires you to stay overnight for one or more days to allow the doctors and nurses to monitor your condition.
- Outpatient (also known as ambulatory) surgery: This is done in an outpatient clinic or hospital. You will be able to go home on the day of the surgery.
In general, when you have surgery, you can expect the following steps, although outpatient surgeries may not involve all of these.
When you arrive at the hospital or clinic for your surgery, you will be asked to provide information about your:
- health insurance
- medical history
- current pain or symptoms.
A nurse will take your vital signs, such as your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. You may also need to have other tests, like X-rays or blood tests.
You will be given a paper or plastic bracelet to wear that allows hospital staff to identify you easily.
Often, you will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for several hours before you have surgery. Food or liquid in your stomach can increase the risk of complications, or cause vomiting during or after surgery.
For most surgeries, some type of medicine (anesthesia or anesthetics) is used to make you fall asleep or to numb part of your body so you don’t feel it during surgery.
These medicines are given before your surgery, and include:
- General anesthesia: This will make you unconscious during the surgery. If this is used, an anesthesiologist (a doctor or nurse) will monitor you during the surgery and adjust the medicines, if needed.
- Local anesthetic: These are used to numb the area of the body where the surgery will be done. You may also be given a drug that doesn’t put you to sleep but will make you drowsy.
The hospital staff will prepare (also called “prep”) you for having surgery. This includes:
- Cleaning or shaving (if needed) the part of your body that will be operated on.
- Asking you to remove your jewelry, hair ties and contact lenses.
- Providing you with a hospital gown to wear (instead of your clothing).
- Having an IV (intravenous) line inserted in your arm by a nurse. This is attached to a bag of fluid and is used to give you anesthetics, fluids or medicines needed during surgery.
- Hooking you up to equipment that monitors your blood pressure and heart rate.
In the operating room, you may notice that the doctors and nurses are all wearing protective clothing. This includes masks, gowns, caps, booties and plastic eyeglasses. These are worn to reduce your chance of getting an infection during surgery.
In some hospitals or clinics, medical or nursing students may be present in the room during your surgery. They are there to watch and learn the procedure.
Recovery After Surgery
After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room (also known as the postoperative room, or post-op). Your condition will be monitored by nurses for up to a few hours, depending upon the type of surgery.
When you wake up from the general anesthesia, you may feel confused, groggy, nauseated, chilly, or even sad. When you are fully awake, the surgeon will meet with you to tell you how the surgery went.
If you experience any pain after surgery, you will be given pain medications (either pills or in your IV line). You may also be given antibiotics to reduce your chance of infection.
If you are staying overnight in the hospital, you will be brought to a hospital room, where nurses will monitor your condition until it is time for you to leave.
There is a great deal to think about when it comes to hip or knee replacement. When you have this major surgery, you will be out of commission for a long time and the rehab will not be comfortable. Because it is such a serious surgery to consider, many people put off having the operation for longer than they should. If you have any reason to think you need a hip or knee replacement, how can you be sure that you definitely need the procedure?
The most important thing to consider would be your quality of life and how much your joint problems are disrupting it. Consider the following questions:
- How much pain do you experience when you walk?
- How much pain are you in when you are not walking?
- Are you able to get up and do the things you want?
- How badly is the damaged joint affecting your quality of life?
The bottom line is that most surgeons will suggest that you have the hip or knee replacement if your quality of life has been greatly hindered. If you are not able to do the things you need to, then it is a clear sign that you may need to consider surgery.
Your Overall Health
Your doctor will need to determine if you are in good enough health to undergo the surgery. Many times hip or knee replacement will be secondary to other health concerns. In other words, you can make use of a wheelchair or scooter to get around. You cannot live without a heart or lungs. If you have any health concerns that could make going under the knife dangerous, then your doctor may advise that you wait on the replacement surgery until you are in better health.
Do Not Wait Too Long
One mistake you could make would be waiting too long, especially if you are already advanced in age. If you put off the hip or knee replacement, you may find that you have waited too long. Your overall health could be bad enough that you can no longer consider the surgery as an option.
Be sure to take your age and overall health into consideration. Will you realistically be able to put the procedure off for months or years? Are you willing to risk waiting until it is too late?
Overall, deciding when it is the right time to have a hip or knee replacement is a choice that you alone can make. Talk to your doctor. Ask as many questions as you have. Discuss your options. Your doctor will be able to give you more insight into when it makes sense to have the surgery and when it simply does not.
If you have injury to your shoulder that came from damage or from inflammation, then you may need to have a shoulder arthroscopy surgery, a minimally invasive alternative to repair the shoulder and restore its regular movement. This procedure makes use of a very small device called an arthroscope. This device can be placed in your shoulder with a very small incision. Then the damage to the shoulder can be reviewed and small tools can be used to repair the damage.
If you are considering shoulder arthroscopy, then you will need to know the risks as well as its benefits.
There are always risks to any type of surgical procedure. Some of the risks may be more minor than others, but you definitely need to be aware of them before making a decision. Here are the risks to shoulder arthroscopy.
- Stiffness is the most common risk. You may experience stiffness for a certain amount of time or for the foreseeable future. This is usually caused by scar tissue that forms in the area. If you suffer from stiffness, it can be eased with physical therapy.
- Weakness. You may not have the same strength level in that arm after the procedure. However with physical therapy, a great deal of this weakness can be rectified.
- Nerve Damage. This is considered one of the more major risks. Damage to the nerves in the shoulder can cause issues with your arm and hand. Usually the nerve damage is temporary, but it can cause permanent complications.
- Infection. As with any surgery, there is always a chance of infection.
As always, you need to know the risks of any surgical procedure that you may need to undergo. However, the benefits could greatly outweigh the risks.
There are definite benefits to choosing shoulder arthroscopy. Not only will you gain the benefits of a repaired shoulder, but also the arthroscopic procedure itself is much more beneficial than choosing standard types of invasive surgeries.
- The minimal invasiveness of the procedure will allow for quicker healing when compared to more serious surgeries.
- Arthroscopy allows for less scarring and scar tissue so that you will have better movement in your arm and shoulder.
- You will be able to regain more use from your arm and shoulder when compared to living with the damage or inflammation that was hindering it.
- Arthroscopic procedures cause minimal blood loss. This allows for less bruising and pain during recovery.
As with any surgery, there are risks and benefits associated with your procedure. You should discuss them with your doctor thoroughly before you undergo your surgery.
Learn more about our shoulder services [Here].
Anytime you will be undergoing serious surgery, the last thing you would want to do is go under anesthesia with unanswered questions. If you do, you will be anxious and scared, and this is certainly not a good mindset to have when going through surgery. This definitely holds true for hip or knee replacement. Before you even decide whether or not the surgery is right for you, ask the right questions and get all of your questions answered. This should be your top priority since it will help you make the right decision and will ease any anxiety you are feeling.
Here are some common questions you should ask before determining if hip or knee replacement will be the right choice for you.
Do I Have to Get the Surgery?
Most likely, you will have a choice as to whether or not you should undergo the joint replacement. You may not have to have the surgery, so you definitely want to ask. Of course, you need to discuss with your doctor when is the right time to have the procedure. You will also need to ask questions like the following:
- How long can I wait to have the surgery?
- Will this procedure truly improve my quality of life?
- What will life be like if I decide to not have the surgery?
What Will the Recovery Be Like?
Recovery to a knee or hip replacement will take some time. In fact, it takes longer than almost any other type of surgery. You need to know the recovery time and you need to ask the following questions as well:
- What can I do to make the recovery process speedier?
- What kind of pain will I be in during recovery?
- How long will I have to be off my feet?
- What kind of medications will I be prescribed during surgery?
Will My Life Go Back to Normal After Recovery?
Of course, you must be wondering just how effective the hip or knee replacement will be. In many cases, it will completely restore the use of your joint and you will be able to fully enjoy your life again once you have recovered fully. However, it is a good idea to have realistic expectations and you should discuss those expectations with your doctor.
What are the Risks to Having Surgery?
Even if your doctor has done numerous surgeries, there is still always a risk. There is a risk to any type of operation. To put your mind at ease, you should ask your doctor what kinds of risks you could expect and how serious those risks may be.
Asking the right questions can ensure that you are ready for your hip or knee replacement surgery. It will ease your mind when you know what to expect and are prepared for the process. Be sure to add in any questions you may have other than the ones listed above. Do not be afraid to ask your doctor anything and ensure that you are getting thorough answers.
The physicians at the OSS Health Pain Center specialize in caring for musculoskeletal disorders, with special interest in the non-surgical care of the neck and back.Our pain management physicians use many diagnostic tools to determine the cause of pain, including EMG’s (electromyography) and nerve conduction studies. Once the cause of pain is determined, a treatment plan is developed to meet each individual patient’s needs. Treatment plans include therapy, exercise, medication, and when necessary, non-surgical interventional treatments including x-ray guided spinal injections.
Our treatments are minimally invasive and involve no surgery for spine procedures. They are generally performed using a local anesthetic and occasionally “twilight” sedation. Procedures usually last less than an hour and the patient is able to walk away from the treatment center the same day.
To learn more, check out our section on [Pain Management] or give us a call today!
Put a little jingle in your step and join us for the 3rd annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk, the Arthritis Foundation’s annual holiday race ! It will be held at OSS Health this year on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 1855 Powder Mill Road in York. The race starts at 9 a.m. All proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Register today at www.jinglebellrunyork.kintera.org or call 717-884-7523. There will be a 1 mile fun run/walk and Candy Lane Shuffle for kids 10 and under. Hope to see you there!