Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery - Ascension Wisconsin

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Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery

For the best possible surgical outcome, please follow these guidelines to prepare for your orthopedic surgery at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare hospitals and outpatient surgery centers.

What to Expect


  • Plan to arrive as directed by Pre-Admission Testing, generally 60-90 minutes prior to surgery start time.
  • There may be some waiting time before the procedure. So, it's a good idea to bring a book or magazine to read.
  • Professional valet drivers are available to park your car.
  • Bring anticipated co-pay with you and a small amount of cash for equipment, prescriptions or van service.

Stay Informed & Communicate with Your Medical Team

  • Attend all scheduled pre-surgical appointments and be available to provide medical information.
  • A nurse or anesthesiologist may call to discuss your care in the time leading up to surgery.

Do Not Eat or Drink

  • It is generally recommended that you not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. This includes water, candy or gum.
  • Anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting if the stomach is not empty.
  • If the surgery involves the abdomen, there will also be a need to have an empty bowel.
  • Your doctor will provide specific instructions for your preoperative diet. Pay close attention to these instructions.

Pack Light

  • A bag of toiletries and some loose comfortable clothes is a good start.
  • Bring crutches, walker, inhalers and CPAP machine if applicable.
  • If you are staying overnight, we encourage you to bring comfort items to assist in the healing process. Such items may include DVDs, iPod and laptop.

Things to Bring

  • Any hospital documents or other documents your doctor has given you
  • Medications you are currently on
  • List of your current medications, including vitamins or supplements
  • Photo ID and your insurance card

 What to Expect Before Surgery

  • Prior to surgery your blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate and temperature will be checked.
  • Your family will be allowed to stay with you in your room until you are transported to the operating room.

What to Expect After Surgery

Use the following information to help you plan for and understand the recovery process following orthopedic surgery at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare hospitals and outpatient surgery centers. The orthopedic staff can help you with all your post-surgical needs and answer any questions.

Assessing Patient Needs & Vital Signs

  • Upon recovery you may find yourself wearing a blood pressure cuff, oximeter and EKG leads.
  • The IV remains in place to deliver medication and fluids intravenously.

Pain Management

  • You are encouraged to notify the nurse immediately if pain is not sufficiently relieved. It is easier to control pain when it is mild than when it is severe.
  • You may not experience total pain relief but should have a pain rating that you consider acceptable and that allows you rest, breathe deeply and do your therapy.
  • Surgical pain lessens each day as your incision begins to heal.

Thirst & Nourishment

  • Some patients may only be allowed ice chips, sips of water or clear liquids the first day or two.
  • During this time nutritional needs are met through IV fluids. Patients then progress toward a regular well-balanced diet.
  • Room service is available. A menu for dining will be in your room.

Circulation & Walking

  • Changing position in bed, walking and prescribed exercise promotes circulation.
  • Good blood flow discourages the formation of blood clots and enhances healing.
  • Each day you’ll be encouraged to increase physical activity and be as independent as possible.

Surgical Incisions

  • You should expect pain in the area of the incision.
  • Report any unusual pain, swelling, fever, redness, discharge, numbness or flu-like symptoms immediately.

Physical Therapy (PT) & Rehab

  • PT may begin as early as the day of surgery.
  • PT is an important part of recovery because it helps you build strength, flexibility and endurance.
  • Many patients are given a home exercise program to continue their progress.

Hospital Discharge

  • Prior to discharge, patients will be given orthopedic post operation instructions and necessary prescriptions or medications. Pharmacies are located in each hospital for your convenience.
  • The instructions provide reminders for aspects of home care.
  • Expect to be tired in the first days following surgery.
  • Plan daily rest periods during recovery.
  • If required, plan to schedule your follow-up appointment shortly after arriving home.

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