Preparing for surgery
Once the surgical treatment plan is ready you will have to sign a consent form in the clinic and a copy of it will be given to you. The aim of the surgery is to improve pain, resolve mechanical symptoms and restore function. By reading what you should do beforehand, you can really help to make your surgery as easy as possible.
It is vital to make sure that you can get to the hospital. Make travel arrangements beforehand, as it is unlikely that you will be able to drive yourself to and from the hospital. If you are staying in the hospital, think of all of the things you might need and start packing a few days before the procedure. Try to be as well as you can possibly be. Research has shown that patients who maintain a good level of fitness before surgery have better results. If your doctor has advised you not to eat or drink for a specified period of time before your operation or take a certain medication, always follow their advice. Finally, if you are anxious, please speak up. It is completely normal to feel anxious before an operation so don’t be afraid to contact the hospital to let them know.
Working with your Doctor
Prior to any surgery, you will have a preoperative assessment to check that you don’t have any issues that could change the result of the surgery. A specialist nurse usually carries this out in person. If you are generally very fit and healthy with no medication history and are coming in for a day case surgery, then the assessment can be carried out on the telephone. The specialist nurse will go through your medical history and medications. You will be advised if any medications need to be stopped before surgery. This is especially the case with anticoagulants (blood thinners) and immune modulators. You will undergo routine blood tests; ECG, if required and MRSA swab tests. Currently you are required to have a COVID-19 Antigen Swab test at least 72 hours before surgery. The results of this test have to be negative before the surgery can proceed. You will be advised of the self-isolation period prior to the surgery.
You need to discuss any medications that you are taking with your doctor and should make sure that you stop the ones that you shouldn’t be taking before a surgery. You also should discuss with your doctor about blood replacement prior to your surgery. If you're overweight, losing weight will decrease the pressure that you place on your joint but please do not diet during the month before your surgery. You should also stop or cut down smoking and alcohol intake to reduce the risks of surgery and help to have a speedy and healthy recovery. It is extremely important to have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before you have your surgery to reduce the risk of having an infection later and if you have current infection you should report it to your doctor as the surgery cannot commence until all infections have gone. Another useful thing to do is arrange for a carer to help out with everyday tasks.
Day of surgery
You should remove all makeup, nail polish, piercings or jewellery from your body. Please have a storage box for contact lenses, glasses or dentures and if you are feeling ill you should call the hospital.
You should not smoke, eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery and should also try to avoid bringing any sort valuables with you to surgery.
Recovery on the ward
After the surgery you will be transferred to the recovery ward where you will stay until your blood pressure, temperature, breathing and pulse are stable after which you will be discharged home. The nurse looking after you will make sure you are fully awake and pain and nausea free. As the recovery unit is a busy environment with numerous other patients also recovering from their operations, visitors are not routinely allowed onto the unit. You will be transferred to a ward where you will then receive physiotherapy and further care. Once you are mobilising safely and ready to be discharged from the hospital, you will be advised to arrange a transport back to your home. Patients are able to go home with in 48 hours after a joint replacement surgery. Knee arthroscopy patients are able to go home on the same day of surgery.
Recovery at home
You can speed up your recovery process by eating healing foods like berries and dark leafy greens. The healthier foods that you eat, the more energy and nutrition you will receive to help fight off infections, accelerate healing, increase strength and build up your nutrition stores.
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