6 Things Your Doctor May Ask You to Do Before Hip or Knee Surgery
Once you’ve made the decision to have surgery, there are still several steps your doctor may ask you to take before the actual procedure. While not all of the following apply to all procedures, your doctor may request the following:
- Complete physical examination
You may need to make an appointment with your primary care or family doctor before surgery. He or she will assess your overall health to be sure you’re physically able to handle your procedure and complete your recovery. If you also have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, you may be required to get the OK of your primary care doctor before surgery.
- List of medications and/or supplements you take
Be sure, if you have not already done so, to tell your surgeon about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take as well as any supplements. There may be meds you’ll be instructed to stop taking before surgery.
- Information about upcoming dental exams
If you were planning any dental procedures, ask your surgeon about timing, as any bacteria that enter your bloodstream from dental work can increase the (slight) risk of infection after surgery.
- Preoperative tests
In the days immediately before your planned procedure, your surgeon will likely order tests, such as blood tests, an electrocardiogram (EKG) or urine tests.
- Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker, try your best to quit before surgery. Smoking has been shown to increase postoperative complications, such as poor healing of the wound. Even a few weeks of not smoking before your operation can help improve the healing process.
- Lose weight
If you’re significantly overweight, your doctor may advise you to try to lose weight before you undergo surgery. Research shows that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher have a greater risk of complications. Risks associated with anesthesia also go up for obese patients.
It’s helpful to stay focused on the benefits to your life after the procedure is over. If you’ve been living with chronic or extreme discomfort, imagine what it will be like to gain relief. Recovery time will depend on several factors such as the type of procedure, your physical condition before the procedure and your attitude about the recovery process. Having a strong support network is also helpful for a smoother recovery.
Your doctor will be able to answer questions specific to your situation and type of procedure. There’s no better time than now to take steps to conquer your condition.