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Pre-Operative Information

What You Need to Know About Your Surgery

Pre-Operative Information

The better prepared you are for your surgery, the smoother it will go. We have a full care team ready to guide you through this process so that you can spend less time worrying and more time focusing on a speedy recovery. You will be assigned a Nurse Navigator who will help you prepare for your surgery and will check in with you after the surgery and in the days following.

Your Care Team:

  • Care Partner/Coach
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physicians Assistant
  • Nurse Navigator
  • Clinical staff at the Surgery Center
  • Surgeon

How to Prepare

At Home

  • Clear leaves and snow from outdoor walkways.
  • Clear clutter and make pathways wide enough for a walker.
  • Make sure you have good lighting.
  • Have handrails where needed.
  • Keep frequently needed items nearby.
  • Have pre-prepared meals on hand.
  • Remove throw rugs and extension cords that could be tripping hazards.
  • Consider having someone care for your pets.

Your Care Partner

  • Arrange for your care partner to be at your pre-op appointments including physical therapy.
  • Inform your care partner that you will need transportation to your surgery and to appointments after your surgery. If your care partner is unable to provide transportation be sure to make other arrangements.
  • Inform your care partner that they should plan to be available to you for your first 48-72 hours that you are home. If your care partner is unable, be sure to make other arrangements.


  • For total hip, total or partial knee you will need a walker, cane or crutches, leg lift strap and reacher.
  • Patients are highly encouraged to get a cold therapy machine. If you cannot, please discuss with your surgeon. Please bring it with you on the day of your surgery.
  • See the outpatient surgery packet for other recommendations.


  • Leading up to your surgery a nutritious diet will enhance healing after surgery. Eat meals high in protein and plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
  • Drink 1 liter of low sugar electrolyte-enhanced beverage the night before surgery.
  • Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • STOP Smoking at least 2 weeks before your surgery.
  • NO alcohol for 24 hours before surgery.
  • Monitor your blood sugar with finger sticks if diabetic.

Prescription Medications

  • STOP taking nutritional supplements (except the recommended iron) at least 7 days before your surgery.
  • Taper off any narcotic pain medications before your surgery.

* Your surgeon or PCP will advise what other medications you may need to hold.

Physical Therapy

At least 2 weeks or more before your surgery:

  • You will be asked to attend 1-2 visits of pre-operative physical therapy.
  • You will be provided pre-operative strengthening exercises to perform.
  • You will be shown how to use your adaptive equipment and how to navigate stairs.
  • You will be set up with post-operative physical therapy appointments as recommended by your surgeon.

Infection Prevention

  • Have Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) wash on hand.
  • Wear freshly washed clothes to the surgery center. Loose fitting clothing is recommended to accommodate for the dressing and swelling after surgery.
  • DO NOT use lotions, moisturizers or makeup the night before or the morning of surgery.

What to Bring

  • Photo ID and insurance cards.
  • Your prescribed medications in the original bottles.
  • Your assistive devices (walker, sling, etc).
  • Your ice machine*.
  • A CPAP machine if you use one.
  • Loose comfortable clothing and rubber soled shoes.
  • Your care partner should bring something to occupy their time.

What To Expect On Surgery Day

Pre-Operative Information

Arrival at the Surgery Center

  • Medications will be reviewed.
  • An intravenous line (IV) will be started for fluid and medication administration.
  • Preoperatively you will be given: pain medications, anti-nausea, antibiotics, Nozin nasal sanitation.


  • You will be contacted by anesthesia prior to your surgery to discuss your anesthesia options.
  • Knee and shoulder patients will be getting a regional block as part of pain management

Recovery Room Phase 1

  • You will be brought here immediately after your surgery.
  • Anesthesia may start to wear off.
  • Your vital signs will be monitored frequently.
  • You may be given medication for nausea and pain if needed.
  • You will be given sips of clear liquids as tolerated

Recovery Room Phase 2

  • A nurse, or Physical therapist, will assist you with sitting up on the side of the bed, dressing, and ambulating.
  • You will be assessed for the time you will be able to be discharged to go home.

Going Home

  • You will not be pain-free after your surgery.
  • The first few days will be the hardest.
  • Take your pain medications as directed as needed, especially prior to physical therapy and before going to bed.
  • Ice frequently using your ice machine (and elevating your lower extremity) to reduce swelling and decrease pain.
  • Constipation is a common side effect of your narcotic pain medications and decreased activity. Remember to stay hydrated, take your stool softener, and keep moving.

Preventing Complications

Preventing Pneumonia

  • Get up and walk around frequently.
  • Do some deep breathing.
  • Maintain good oral care and brush your teeth regularly.

Preventing Blood Clots

To help prevent a dangerous blood clot from forming:

  • You will be placed on Aspirin 81mg twice daily, unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon.
  • Wear compression stockings – on for 12hrs in the AM, off for 12 hrs in the PM.
  • Elevate your leg above your heart.
  • A pillow should be placed under your calf, not your knee.
  • Keep your leg straight while elevating
  • Walk frequently.
  • Do foot pumps.

Physical Therapy

  • Some patients will be attending physical therapy 2-3 days after surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on when you will start your outpatient physical therapy.
  • Make sure that this appointment is scheduled before you have your surgery.

When to call your Surgeon

  • If your temperature rises above 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you experience increased redness, swelling, or drainage from or around your incision.
  • If pain is not received by pain medication.
  • If you experience nausea or vomiting.
  • If you have any other questions or concerns.
  • walk operation
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons