Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery



Before You Go:

  • Find out the basics about the office. Where is it? What time should you arrive? If you're going to drive, where can your park? Do you need to bring your insurance card or a managed care medical referral?
  • Gather your records such as results and copies of X-rays, other imaging studies and lab tests and personally take the records to the doctor's office.
  • Make written lists of medications you are taking.
  • Your medical history, such as prior treatments for heart or thyroid problems or operations, even those not related to your current problem.
  • Your concerns about your condition (pains, loss of mobility or function).
  • Any questions you have for the doctor.
  • Consider asking a friend or family member to accompany you. If you need a translator, ask another adult to come with you.

At the Doctor's Office:

  • Dress appropriately. For spine and many problems involving the arms and legs, you may be asked to disrobe. Wear loose clothing that's easy to take off and put on.
  • Arrive early so you can complete any required forms or tests before meeting with your doctor.
  • Be honest and complete in talking with your doctor. Share your point of view and don't hold back information about issues that you might consider embarrassing.
  • Stick to the point and keep it short to get the most out of your time with the doctor.
  • Take notes on what the doctor tells you, and ask questions if you don't understand the meaning of a word or the instructions for taking medication.
  • Ask what to expect from your treatment, what effect it will have on your daily activities and what you can do to prevent further disability.
  • Ask your doctor for handouts, brochures or websites that you and your family members can review at home.
  • Talk to the other members of the health care team, too, such as physician assistants, nurses, therapists (speech, physical or occupational).
  • Review the materials the doctor gave you. If you can't remember something, or if you don't understand your notes, call the office and speak to a member of your health care team.
  • Follow the doctor's instructions. Take the full course of medication and make sure you follow the prescribed diet or exercise routine.
  • Keep your doctor informed of any changes in your condition.

Excerpted from the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons