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Home > Patient Resources > Pre-op and Post-op Instructions

What to expect before and after your surgery

Home > Patient Resources > Pre-op and Post-op Instructions

Pre-operative Instructions

The week before

● If you are on any blood thinners, such as aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it. Aspirin can cause bleeding. Follow your doctor's instructions. 
● For patient with heart or vascular disease on Plavix, Effient, Warfarin, Aspirin, or other blood thinners you will discuss the possibility of stopping any of these medications before your surgery

The day before

● Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery
● If you have a fever, infection, flu, vomiting, or any other illness, please contact the clinic to discuss the possibility of postponing your surgery

Day of surgery

Leave your valuables at home and bring with you:● Any medical equipment you may have received (crutch / sling / brace / post-op shoes or boots)
● Comfortable clothing, for example loose-fitting clothes and comfortable shoes

Post-operative Instructions

Caring for your incision

● Do not expose your incision and dressing to water until your post-op appointment. However, you may bathe with a sponge. To keep the dressing dry, cover it with a plastic cover (such as cling film, or trash bag, secured with tape. Your nurse will inform you when it is safe to start getting your incision wet
● Avoid applying lotions or creams to your incision before 6 weeks from the date of surgery unless specifically instructed by your doctor
● If your incision is closed using sutures or staples, they will likely be removed during your post-op appointment

Pain management

● Take your pain medications as instructed. Improper dosages and uses can have adverse effects on your healing process, and may affect pain control after surgery
● Some procedures involve a regional nerve block that will start wearing off within 6-18 hours. Stay on schedule with your pain medication in order to decrease the severity of pain when the block wears off
● Pain medication should be taken with food
● If a specific motion causes pain, do not force it ● Use ice packs to control swelling: 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, especially the first 2 weeks after surgery. Ice is a great anti-inflammatory medication. Be sure to avoid direct contact with skin to avoid ice burns

At home

The time after surgery is vital for your overall recovery and the ultimate result of the surgery is largely affected by your post-op actions. To help you prepare for your return home, below is a list of DOs and DON'Ts:
DO:● While sitting or lying down, elevate the arm or leg that underwent surgery. Place pillows underneath to ensure it is positioned higher than your heart. This will help reduce and prevent swelling● If your affected arm or leg is swollen, increase the frequency of elevation. If the swelling does not improve, contact your doctor for further guidance● Move! Once you are cleared to walk, take a short walk every few hours on the days following surgery to help avoid complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pneumonia, and constipation
DO NOT:● Don't exercise or lift weights until you are told it’s safe● Don't drive too soon. Please discuss with us on your first post-op appointment when it is safe to resume driving● Don't smoke. Smoking restricts oxygen flow to wounds and disrupts the activity of inflammatory cells, which are essential for healing. Consequently, it can prolong the healing process, adding weeks to the recovery time. Moreover, smoking increases the likelihood of post-op infections and pneumonia

Contact your doctor if you experience any of the below:

● Any sign of infection: Increasing swelling, redness, fever over 38.3º C
● Sudden and severe increase in pain
● Problems with wound drainage, such as redness, bleeding, or opening at the incision site
● Difficulty breathing
● Inability to tolerate food & drinks
● Persistent constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
● Increased swelling that does not improve with elevation and ice
● Numbness, coldness, or appearance of a bluish color of the fingers or toes