Salvatore Lenzo, M.D. - Clinical Assistant Professor - Orthopaedic Surgery NYU - Hospital for joint Diseases, NYU Langone Medical Center Your Practice Online
 
Patient Info

Preparing for Surgery & Procedure

Preparing for Surgery

Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step towards to a successful result. Understanding the process and the patient’s role in it will help the patient recover more quickly and have fewer problems. Before any surgical procedure, a complete medical history will be taken in order to understand possible conditions that could interfere with surgery and/or the outcome. If the patient is older than 50 years old, routine tests such as blood tests and electrocardiograms will be indicated. If the patient is younger than 50, but does have medical problems, these tests will also be indicated as well. It is important to review any medications that the patient is taking prior to the surgical intervention as these could interfere with healing and/or anesthetic agents used during the surgical procedure. For example, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication or blood thinners such as Coumadin or Plavix may be required to be stopped prior to the surgical procedure. The necessity for discontinuing of medication should be discussed carefully with Dr. Lenzo because sometimes it is not necessary. It is important to decrease smoking prior to any surgical procedure, especially after surgery that is involved in fracture healing. Smoking can cause non-unions and delay in bone healing. Of course, refraining from alcohol use and illicit drugs is critical prior to any surgical procedure. Drugs such as cocaine can cause lift threatening cardiac arrhythmias if taken within the perioperative period. In addition, drugs such as marijuana also can cause cardiac problems and arrhythmias which can interfere with the anesthesia during surgery. Obviously it is critical to not eat or drink anything the day of the surgical procedure.

Postoperative, it is important to keep the area that was operated on clean and dry. Postoperative instructions will be given by Dr. Lenzo to indicate what should be done with regard to the dressing and what activities are allowed to be participated in. It is important to keep the hand and/or arm elevated for approximately 24 hours subsequent to any surgical procedure. This would decrease swelling and concomitant pain. Anesthesia postoperatively can cause nausea and/or vomiting and this can be addressed with certain medications. In addition, if the patient has a brachial plexus block, their arm can be numb for a multiple hours. Pain medication should be titrated to the pain that develops and should be taken before a full-fledged discomfort arises. Postoperative eating is allowed and encouraged, but heavy food should be avoided during the first 24 hours. In addition to the postoperative instructions, the patient will be given an appropriate appointment postoperatively to be reassessed in the office and at that time further plans for treatment will be given which could include removal of sutures, splint and/or initiation of a therapy program.

Preparing for Procedure

If you are having Day Surgery, remember the following:

  • Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours
  • Do Not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip home
  • The combination of anaesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal and try to avoid greasy food for the first 24 hours
  • If you had surgery on an extremity (leg, knee, hand or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain
  • Take your pain medicine as directed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain
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