What to expect when having surgery

Our scheduling coordinators will contact you to schedule your surgery or procedure, as well as your pre-operative appointment (if needed).

During the call, the scheduling coordinator will give you information regarding your pre-operative clearances (if needed), facility information, and proposed date of surgery.  We make every attempt to accommodate each patient’s schedule, but please note that surgery dates may be affected by insurance authorizations, medical clearances, or facilities.

No surgeries are the same and may have different requirements.  Our scheduling coordinators will guide you through each step of the process.

Preoperative appointment and instructions

At your preoperative appointment, our medical staff will obtain a medical history and perform a physical examination.  Please bring an updated and complete list of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you are taking to the appointment.

We will need to know about any allergies you have, including latex – and any metal allergies.  This is important if your surgery will require the use of pins, plates, or screws.

If you need any pre-operative lab tests, we will help arrange to have them completed prior to your surgery.

Prescriptions and medications

Please let the clinical team know if you are currently taking heart, blood pressure, gastric reflux, or thyroid medication.  It is important to notify your clinical team of any blood thinning medication you are currently taking.

The anesthesiologist will contact you the night before surgery to discuss your medical and medication history.  If you are diabetic, the anesthesiologist will explain what medication, if any, you can take the morning prior to surgery.

We advise our patients not to eat, drink or smoke after midnight the night before surgery. If a patient is scheduled for a later time in the day, the anesthesiologist will decide the time when the patient should stop eating and drinking clear liquids.

Since smoking decreases your body’s ability to deal with your anesthesia and your body’s ability to heal after surgery, we ask you to avoid smoking both prior to and after your surgical procedure.

Preparation and precautions for your surgery

Prior to your surgery, there are several precautions we require for your safety and comfort, including the removal of artificial fingernail tips or polish. Also, many times, our postoperative dressings and splints are bulky, so we ask that you wear clothes with large sleeves. For the surgery itself, you’ll be required to wear a hospital gown.

You will not be allowed to wear any jewelry during surgery, including any body piercings.

Do not shave or use hair remover on the area being operating on, as this can irritate your skin, which increases your chance for postoperative infection.

We normally tell our patients not to eat, drink or smoke after midnight the night before surgery. If a patient is scheduled for a later time in the day, the anesthesiologist will decide the time when the patient should stop eating and drinking clear liquids.

Since smoking decreases your body’s ability to deal with your anesthesia and your body’s ability to heal after surgery, we ask you to avoid smoking both prior to and after your surgical procedure.

 

After Surgery

Dressing and splints

If you have been placed in a post-operative dressing or splint, do not remove the dressing or splint, or allow it to get wet until your first postoperative visit.  If the dressing becomes too tight due to swelling, contact us and we will tell you how to relieve this.

Instructions for home and recovery

Elevation of the affected limb will help with any swelling you may experience post-operatively.  It is recommended for the first 48-72 hours, but please refer to your clinical team for further instruction.

Ice packs are a tool to prevent swelling during the first 48 to 72 hours following surgery.  If in a post-operative splint or dressing, please protect them from the moisture from the ice packs.

Returning to normal activities

Normally you should be able to return to work within two to five days following surgery. If your job is physically intensive, we ask that you speak with your employer about finding a reduced labor-intensive position for a given period.

Texas State law determines when you will be able to return to driving. The law states that the operator of a vehicle must have the use of both arms and both legs to safely operate a vehicle.

Postoperative visit

After scheduling your surgery, you will be scheduled a date and time for your first post-operative appointment. This visit may consist of removing dressings, removing sutures, and applying a splint or cast. If you have a fracture, repeat x-rays may be needed.  It is important to keep this post-operative appointment to ensure the integrity of the wound site.