Surgery FAQs

After Surgery

What kinds of tests will I need before surgery?


All pateints are required to have routine blood work and urinalysis performed. These tests are usually performed within 14 days of the scheduled surgery. In addition, all patients are required to have a physical examination within 30 days of the surgical date. Patients over the age of 50 are required to have an EKG and chest x-ray performed within 30 days of the surgical date. Most pre-admission testing and physical evaluations can be performed by the patient's personal physician. Please be advised that if an abnormal exam or test result is reported, further evaluation or repeat testing may be required. This does not necessarily mean surgery is canceled, but for your own safety, it is standard procedure to conduct further investigation.




What medications should I take or stop before surgery?


If you are currently taking medications, please refero to our easy-to-follow chart regarding each of your medications. If you are having a joint replacement surgery, It is generally recommended that patients take an iron supplement prior to surgery. This can be purchased from any drugstore. If you have diabetes, be sure to talk with your primary care physician as well as the hospital/nurse about whether you need to adjust your insulin or other diabetes medications on the night before and/or the morning of surgery. If you take a blood thinner such as Coumadin or Plavix, speak with your cardiologist/prescribing physician about whether it is safe for you to stop the medication prior to surgery.




How long will I be in the hospital?


If you are having a knee or shoulder arthroscopy, you will very likely be discharged home the same day as your surgery. For joint replacement surgery, most patients are hospitalized for one to 2 days. If it is not safe for you to go home after 2 days, the hospital case manager will work with you and your family will help you coordinate a transfer to a rehabilitation center or subacute facility of your choice.




What should I bring to the hospital?


If you are having outpatient surgery, please bring a list of your current medications including dosages. If you are having joint replacement surgery, please bring your personal toiletries with you as well as loose fitting, comfortable clothing and non-skid shoes or slippers. If you have an assistive device that you plan to use after discharge (walker, cane, crutches), you should have someone bring this in prior to discharge so the physical therapist can check to assure that it is the adequate size for you. It is not recommended that you bring jewelry, cash, or other items of value.




When should I arrive at the hospital?


Our office, and usually the hospital as well, will be in touch with you regarding your exact arrival time. Patients are generally requested to arrive at the hospital 2 hours prior to the scheduled surgery time. This allows time for you to go through the admission process, change into hospital clothing, and meet the anesthesiologist and nursing personnel who will be with you during your surgery.




What happens if I get sick before surgery or have an infection?


Contact us immediately if you develop cold or flu symptoms, sore throat, fever, productive cough, or any other signs of an infection. Your surgery will likely need to be rescheduled. Anytime an implant is being placed into a patient that has an active infection, the risk of the surgical site or joint getting subsequently infected is much higher.




What type of anesthesia will I have?


Before your surgery, you will have a chance to discuss this with your anesthesiologist in the pre-operative area with your family present. Most cases are performed under general anesthesia. You are put to sleep and do not feel any pain during surgery. The preferred method for knee and hip replacement surgery is spinal anesthesia unless there is a recommendation to the contrary from the anesthesiologist. This is where an injection is peformed into your spine before surgery. You are kept awake and also do not feel any pain during surgery.




Should I shower with a special soap before surgery?


At Ortho.Boston, we take every opportunity to reduce the chance of infection after surgery. Please shower the night before AND the morning of your surgery with an antiseptic soap called "Chlorhexidine Gluconate" or "Hibiclens." You can purchase this soap at the drug store if you have not received it from us or the hospital. It is called either "chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) antiseptic soap" or "Hibiclens" and may come in 2% or 4% strength. You may use either. Please click here to read the showering instructions. If you are unable to find Hibiclens, you may use an alternative antibacterial soap such as Lever, Dial, or Safeguard.




Can I eat after midnight or the morning of surgery?


No. The night before your surgery, you should not eat or drink anything after midnight. This includes gum, candies, and mints. You can take any medications you were instructed to take the morning of the surgery with a small sip of water.




Where do I go when I arrive at the facility for surgery?


Our office will communicate this to you either by telephone or mail. Typically, pateint's report to the "Patient Registration" area. From there, you will be directed to the surgical pre-operative area. Your family member or friend may come with you.





What kinds of tests will I need before surgery?


All pateints are required to have routine blood work and urinalysis performed. These tests are usually performed within 14 days of the scheduled surgery. In addition, all patients are required to have a physical examination within 30 days of the surgical date. Patients over the age of 50 are required to have an EKG and chest x-ray performed within 30 days of the surgical date. Most pre-admission testing and physical evaluations can be performed by the patient's personal physician. Please be advised that if an abnormal exam or test result is reported, further evaluation or repeat testing may be required. This does not necessarily mean surgery is canceled, but for your own safety, it is standard procedure to conduct further investigation.




What medications should I take or stop before surgery?


If you are currently taking medications, please refero to our easy-to-follow chart regarding each of your medications. If you are having a joint replacement surgery, It is generally recommended that patients take an iron supplement prior to surgery. This can be purchased from any drugstore. If you have diabetes, be sure to talk with your primary care physician as well as the hospital/nurse about whether you need to adjust your insulin or other diabetes medications on the night before and/or the morning of surgery. If you take a blood thinner such as Coumadin or Plavix, speak with your cardiologist/prescribing physician about whether it is safe for you to stop the medication prior to surgery.




How long will I be in the hospital?


If you are having a knee or shoulder arthroscopy, you will very likely be discharged home the same day as your surgery. For joint replacement surgery, most patients are hospitalized for one to 2 days. If it is not safe for you to go home after 2 days, the hospital case manager will work with you and your family will help you coordinate a transfer to a rehabilitation center or subacute facility of your choice.




What should I bring to the hospital?


If you are having outpatient surgery, please bring a list of your current medications including dosages. If you are having joint replacement surgery, please bring your personal toiletries with you as well as loose fitting, comfortable clothing and non-skid shoes or slippers. If you have an assistive device that you plan to use after discharge (walker, cane, crutches), you should have someone bring this in prior to discharge so the physical therapist can check to assure that it is the adequate size for you. It is not recommended that you bring jewelry, cash, or other items of value.




When should I arrive at the hospital?


Our office, and usually the hospital as well, will be in touch with you regarding your exact arrival time. Patients are generally requested to arrive at the hospital 2 hours prior to the scheduled surgery time. This allows time for you to go through the admission process, change into hospital clothing, and meet the anesthesiologist and nursing personnel who will be with you during your surgery.




What happens if I get sick before surgery or have an infection?


Contact us immediately if you develop cold or flu symptoms, sore throat, fever, productive cough, or any other signs of an infection. Your surgery will likely need to be rescheduled. Anytime an implant is being placed into a patient that has an active infection, the risk of the surgical site or joint getting subsequently infected is much higher.




What type of anesthesia will I have?


Before your surgery, you will have a chance to discuss this with your anesthesiologist in the pre-operative area with your family present. Most cases are performed under general anesthesia. You are put to sleep and do not feel any pain during surgery. The preferred method for knee and hip replacement surgery is spinal anesthesia unless there is a recommendation to the contrary from the anesthesiologist. This is where an injection is peformed into your spine before surgery. You are kept awake and also do not feel any pain during surgery.




Should I shower with a special soap before surgery?


At Ortho.Boston, we take every opportunity to reduce the chance of infection after surgery. Please shower the night before AND the morning of your surgery with an antiseptic soap called "Chlorhexidine Gluconate" or "Hibiclens." You can purchase this soap at the drug store if you have not received it from us or the hospital. It is called either "chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) antiseptic soap" or "Hibiclens" and may come in 2% or 4% strength. You may use either. Please click here to read the showering instructions. If you are unable to find Hibiclens, you may use an alternative antibacterial soap such as Lever, Dial, or Safeguard.




Can I eat after midnight or the morning of surgery?


No. The night before your surgery, you should not eat or drink anything after midnight. This includes gum, candies, and mints. You can take any medications you were instructed to take the morning of the surgery with a small sip of water.




Where do I go when I arrive at the facility for surgery?


Our office will communicate this to you either by telephone or mail. Typically, pateint's report to the "Patient Registration" area. From there, you will be directed to the surgical pre-operative area. Your family member or friend may come with you.





Before Surgery