Preparing for Surgery

Preparing for Surgery

The following list is a general guide to planning ahead for your orthopaedic surgery with Dr Ward.  Often being prepared can lessen anxiety around the experience and assist in a smoother recovery when you return home. 


Below you will find some general tips based on commonly asked questions.  Dr Ward and his team will discuss with you anything that is specific to your surgery and provide further information. 

Preparing for your surgery

1. Follow your surgeon’s instructions

Dr Ward and his office staff will give you specific instructions for the day of your surgery and your post-operative care plan.  Major procedures often require blood tests as well as radiological imaging, however minor procedures may not require this. 

Your procedure will require an anaesthetic and for major procedures the anaesthetist will be in touch with you prior to the procedure. For minor procedures the anaesthetist will usually interview you on the day of surgery.  It is useful if you bring a list of your medications and past medical history for the anaesthetics consult. 

2. Discuss your general medical care

Please discuss with Dr Ward whether you need to see your GP or Dentist prior to surgery.  Dr Ward may need further information from your GP and other treating Doctors as part of the preparation for surgery. 

For joint replacement surgery, Dr Ward may advise you see your Dentist pre-operatively or may ask you to delay any major dental work until after your surgery. 

Some medications (like blood thinners and some types of diabetes medication) can affect your procedure and cannot be taken in the lead-up to the surgery.  Please discuss with Dr Ward and his team whether you need to cease these medications beforehand and how best to resume taking these after the procedure.

3. Make lifestyle changes

Dr Ward will discuss with you any changes you may need to make prior to the surgery, and continuing afterwards.  These may include weight loss, stopping smoking, and daily exercise. 

4. Get support

Ask a friend or family member for support. You can plan ahead for your recovery by preparing your home and organising assistance if required.  Your GP and the hospital discharge planning staff can be a great help with providing resources. 

For joint replacement procedures it is a good idea to have someone stay with you for the first few days after discharge from hospital if you live alone.

5. Plan ahead

Pack everything you need, including toiletries, clothing, books, glasses, chargers for electronic devices or anything you might need during your stay in the hospital. It may be helpful to make a written checklist of everything you need and pack a few days beforehand.

6. Prepare your body

Prepare and protect your skin in the week before the surgery. Avoid small cuts or abrasions: these can easily become infected, especially if they are under bandages or a cast for an extended period of time. Shower the night before surgery and avoid shaving the area to be operated on: this can cause irritation and small cuts.

On the day of the surgery, wear loose and comfortable clothing. Avoid complicated clothes or clothes with difficult closures, as these can be problematic if your range of movement is reduced after surgery.  Avoid wearing fitted clothes: your body might be swollen and sore, and the bandages might be bulky.

Leave your jewellery and other unnecessary items (including watches, hats, or wigs) at home, and choose glasses over contact lenses if you use vision aids. If you use removable dentures, wear them as normal on the day of surgery. 

7. Plan your Physio

Dr Ward often organises for you to see a Physiotherapist while you are in hospital and he will discuss with you your post-operative Physio plan following the procedure.  Dr Ward will either liaise with your Physiotherapist or recommend one for you.  Some minor procedures may not require a formal Physio program.  In this case Dr Ward will give you advice regarding exercise and any restrictions or limitations on activity. 

8. Adapt your environment

Depending on the procedure, your mobility may be limited following the surgery. Prepare your bathroom for easy access, and remove any trip hazards in your home. Researching easy-to-make meals or pre-cooking and freezing some nutritious options can help you keep a healthy diet during this period instead of resorting to take away. 

9. Practice

Dr Ward may discuss pre-habilitation exercises with you.  If this is the case, it is useful to practice these exercises before your surgery. 

For shoulder surgery you will want to consider how you will manage one-handed when you return home, and the clothing you choose to make dressing easier. 

For hip, knee or ankle operations you should consider how you will move around in your home with a walking aide. 

10. Gain knowledge

Be prepared for your surgery, and if you don’t know what to expect, ask questions.  Dr Ward is happy to answer any questions you may have.  Talking to friends or family who have had similar operations can also be useful, whilst understanding that everyone’s experience may be slightly different.

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