Millions of orthopedic surgeries are performed each year in the United States, including well over 2 million hip and knee procedures. In fact, today’s orthopedic surgeries are often the best — and sometimes only — solution for chronic or acute pain in limbs and joints, restoring function and mobility so patients can get back to the activities they enjoy.
Led by Thomas Powell, MD, the team at Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, are dedicated to providing patient-centered care aimed at helping patients lead healthier, more comfortable lives. If your treatment plan includes an upcoming orthopedic surgery, like joint replacement surgery or arthroscopic surgery, here’s what you can do to prepare.
Surgery isn’t an everyday occurrence, so it’s natural to have questions and concerns. So, whenever you think of a question or concern, write it down. This way, you can make sure you get everything answered before your procedure.
You should also take time before your surgery to review your prep instructions — such as when to start fasting and whether it’s OK to take your medications before your procedure — as well as your instructions for recovery. That way, you can clear up anything you don’t feel sure about before coming in for your surgery.
After surgery, the last thing you’re going to want to think about is cooking, but recovery and healing depend on good nutrition. Having some dishes prepared ahead of time can make it easy to eat right and still take it easy.
The good news is meal prep is popular today, and the internet is full of tips and recipes to make meal prep as easy as possible. Stock your pantry with some healthy, grab-and-go snacks while you’re at it.
If your surgery involves your leg or foot, you’ll probably want to avoid stairs for at least a little while. If possible, set up a recovery area on your first floor.
For any type of surgery, preparing a recovery area can help you relax, and this can allow your body to divert more energy to the healing process. Fill a box with remote controls, earbuds, charger cord, books, and anything else to help you chill out.
Because orthopedic surgery can involve joints, bones, or muscles, you’ll probably need a little help, at least initially, to do some of your household tasks and errands. Picking up prescriptions, running to the grocery store, and even simple cleaning tasks, such as laundry, may be forbidden during the early days of recovery. Having some helpers on hand can go a long way toward giving you much-needed peace of mind.
There’s no need to clean your home from top to bottom, but taking care of routine chores ahead of time means you’ll have one less thing to think about. Plus, having your recovery space tidy can help you relax and keep stress at bay.
One way to make sure you’re prepared for recovery is to pretend you’ve already had your surgery. Role play your regular routine, imagining what changes and accommodations you’ll need to make in the hours and days after your surgery. Then, adjust your preparations to suit.
The type of surgery you’re having can have a big impact on your recovery, too. For instance, hand surgery involves a different recovery routine than, say, knee replacement surgery. Likewise, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery will have a different recovery profile than a traditional surgery involving a larger incision.
Review your prep instructions the night before your surgery to make sure you understand when to fast, when to take medications, and other “prep steps.” Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and leave your jewelry at home. Bring your cellphone and a charging cable, too.
Also, bring along your medications, so you can take them after your surgery if your dose has been delayed. Unless you’re spending the night at the hospital, bring someone with you who can drive you home, too.
We know that every patient is different, and that means every patient’s recovery experience will be different, too. If you have questions or concerns about your surgery or recovery, call 205-606-5232 or book an appointment online with Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine today.