Preparing for Knee Surgery
Knee surgery can help to relieve pain and immensely improve a person’s quality of life. In fact, knee surgeries are extremely common procedures, with millions of knee replacement surgeries being performed in the United States every year. Like the knee replacement, a knee arthroscopy is another very common surgical procedure that is used to resolve knee pain.
Before the procedure, you will need time to mentally and physically prepare. Planning ahead of time can greatly help the process of surgery and recovery. A prepared person will naturally experience a much smoother, faster recovery than a person who doesn’t plan ahead. In this article, we will discuss useful tips that will help you get ready for your procedure.
Communicate With Your Doctor
Basically, the more you and your doctor know, the better. Communication is a key part of preparing for surgery. Ask your doctor questions. You may want to know things such as:
- What type of anesthesia will the surgeon use?
- How will I be admitted to the hospital?
- Will the surgeon use an implant or prosthesis? If so, what kind?
- How long will I be in the hospital before I can go home?
- How long is the recovery period expected to be?
- What are the ways in which I can manage my pain after the procedure?
Of course, these are just a few examples. You should really just ask whatever comes to mind. After all, it is your body. Do not hesitate to speak up or voice concerns if you do not understand a certain part of your treatment. You may also wish to consider asking about potential complications with your procedure. With that being said, if your surgery is minimally invasive, the complications should generally be limited.
Your Personal & Medical Information
Before surgery, many different people will ask you many different questions about all kinds of things. They will ask you about your medical history, legal arrangements, insurance coverage, and so on. This may seem annoying at first, as you will feel as though you are repeating yourself frequently. However, rest assured. Repeating yourself is the best thing you can do to meet insurance guidelines and quality assurance.
In your spare time, find a moment to gather a list of your personal and medical information. This will speed up the process greatly and ensure that your healthcare team has all the information they need. The more they know about you, the more likely you are to get better care. Here are a few things you may want to list:
- Names, phone numbers, and addresses of all your current doctors and why you see them
- The contact information of the family member or friend who will accompany you for the procedure and hospital stay
- Any pre-existing medical conditions you may have, such as asthma, diabetes, anemia, or high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about this checklist so that no important details are left out.
- Any surgical procedures that you have had in the past (even if they are not related to knee surgery)
- Medications that you take on an everyday basis (including the dosage and frequency of each). Also mention any supplements, OTC medications, or vitamins that you take regularly. People sometimes forget to mention supplements to their doctor, but certain everyday supplements can actually cause excess bleeding.
- Any allergies you have to certain drugs or anesthesia. If there are any, describe the reaction and when it occurred.
- Any food allergies or dietary restrictions
- Any advance directives, such as a living will or other important legal documents.
- Your insurance company’s information (their name, your insurance card, and their contact information)
Make Lifestyle Adjustments
One of the best things you can do before surgery is to exercise and get in the best physical shape possible. This will lessen your surgical risks and may even shorten your recovery time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Adjust your diet: Make sure that you are eating a nutritious, well-balanced selection of foods. Obesity will cause more stress on your knees, which slows down recovery time. Sometimes, a doctor may give you a weight loss regimen to complete before surgery.
- Quit smoking: Smoking delays healing, shortens recovery, and negatively affects blood circulation. Quitting is not easy, but there are plenty of methods available to help smokers cope with the quitting process. Talk to your doctor.
- Abstain from alcohol: Do not consume any form of alcohol for at least 2 days before the procedure.
- Exercise: Talk to your doctor about appropriate exercises that can be done in preparation for surgery. With knee replacements, strengthening the upper body will make walking on crutches much easier after the procedure. Additionally, ask your doctor about post-operative exercises. The more familiar you are with the exercises now, the easier they will be to do later.
- Disclose your medications: Tell your doctor if you currently take any controlled substances, such as narcotics. Narcotics can increase risk factors associated with surgery.
Surgery-Proof Your Home
- Arrange for someone to drive you home. In some cases, it may be necessary to have this person stay with you in your home for several days.
- Practice with borrowed equipment. Borrow a pair of crutches or a walker beforehand and try walking around your home. This will be very helpful later on. You may find that you will need to rearrange your furniture for easier navigation. Consider how you will be bathing or showering. You may want to consider buying an adjustable bath stool.
- Remove any potential trip hazards, such as rugs or loose cordage.
- Place frequently used items within easy reach to eliminate the need of bending down or reaching up.
- Consider applying for a temporary permit to park in disabled spots. This typically must be done weeks in advanced, so plan accordingly.
Are you a candidate for knee surgery? If so, contact our medical staff at (855) 586-2615 or make an appointment online. Our award-winning team of NJ surgeons offers the latest in pain management and minimally invasive procedures. Our doctors can equip you with a personalized care plan that will immensely improve your quality of life and resolve your pain!