Someone from the surgery center or hospital will call you to discuss pre-operative instructions. They usually include the following:
Notify your surgeon if there is any change in your physical condition, such as a cold, fever, or flu symptom. If there is a chance you are pregnant, you should notify your surgeon immediately.
Arrive promptly at the time specified by the surgery scheduler. If you are having surgery at an outpatient surgery center, you will usually be asked to arrive one hour before your scheduled surgery. Times may differ if you will be admitted to the hospital prior to surgery. Most pre-operative blood, lab, or paper work is performed prior to the day of your surgery.
Bathe or shower the morning of surgery, but do not apply any makeup. Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes and loose, comfortable clothing, such as t-shirts, button-down shirts, sweat pants, or baggy shorts that will fit over bandages or dressings following surgery. Do not wear contact lenses or jewelry.
The length of surgery depends on the procedure being performed, the surgeon, and the method of surgery (e.g., minimally invasive arthroscopy or a more invasive open incision). Arthroscopy may take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours.
The four main types of anesthesia include general, regional, monitored, and local. The type of anesthesia you will receive is influenced by one or more of the following factors:
With general anesthesia, you are completely asleep and unconscious with total loss of sensation. In regional anesthesia, the anesthesiology provider injects you with an anesthetic to provide numbness or loss of pain or sensation to the area of the body requiring surgery. The injection is made near a cluster of nerves and is called a nerve block. The most common types are spinal, epidural, or peripheral. You may remain awake and alert or be sedated. If you are sedated during regional anesthesia, then you receive monitored anesthesia care, also known as MAC sedation or twilight sleep. Monitored anesthesia care involves the administration of drugs to produce sedation and analgesia (insensibility to pain without the loss of consciousness). In addition, your surgeon will administer local anesthesia to the operative site. Local anesthesia is an injection that provides numbness to a small area and is used primarily for minor surgery. It is often administered by the surgeon and does not require the presence of an anesthesiology provider. You will meet with your anesthesiologist prior to surgery and will have an opportunity to discuss your anesthesia options. Your anesthesiologist will inform you of the advantages, side effects, and possible complications of each. Depending upon the factors listed above, you may be able to participate in the decision-making and choose which method you prefer.
The time you spend in the hospital or surgery center will vary depending upon the type of surgery performed, the type of anesthesia that was given, and your individual needs. If surgery is performed in an outpatient surgery center, most patients are discharged within one to three hours after surgery.
Most patients will not encounter problems after orthopedic surgery. As with any surgery, however, there are potential risks, including:
Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will determine what medications you should stop taking before surgery, when they should be stopped, and when you can resume taking them after surgery.