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Tips on Preparing for an Orthopaedic Procedure

Your orthopaedic medical procedure, whether rehabilitation, therapy or surgery, will be the focus of your health care team at ProMedica Orthopaedic Institute. An essential part of that preparation is anticipating and answering your questions. Armed with our responses, patients and their families can approach the procedure with greater confidence, knowing their health and well-being is everyone’s priority.

Because orthopaedic procedures can vary, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for one. How an athlete prepares for his or her first physical therapy on a ligament strain will differ from how someone suffering from bone loss prepares for his or her first treatment. How you prepare will be based on the best medical information available, and will be outlined thoroughly by your ProMedica Orthopaedic Institute health team.

In general, preparation includes the following: knowing how long the treatment or therapy will take, providing for someone to bring you (if necessary), following any dietary restrictions, wearing clothing appropriate to the treatment and following all other pre-treatment steps outlined by your team.

Preparing for Surgery: A Checklist

For elective orthopaedic surgeries, patients have time to plan and prepare physically and emotionally. It is important to be in the best health condition possible before your surgery. Being physically ready improves your chances for a good result, and reduces risks from surgical complications.

Managing Your Medical Conditions

Your ProMedica Orthopaedic Institute health team will assess your preparedness for surgery. In doing so, they may analyze to what degree these conditions are present and what affect they may have on orthopaedic care and treatment:

  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Opioid or narcotic drug use
  • Varicose veins, leg swelling and blood clots
  • High-blood pressure or hypertension

Getting Into Shape for Surgery

Once a decision has been made to conduct a surgery, you need to give yourself the best chances for a successful recovery. As outlined by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, among the issues your health care team may address include:


Stopping the smoking habit a month at least a month before your procedure can improve your chances of a successful recovery – and try not to pick up the habit again for several weeks after surgery, or ever again.


Patients who are overweight or obese experience increased risk for complications.

Diet and Nutrition

Eating the right foods can aid your body during recovery after surgery. Before and after your surgery, adopt healthy eating habits that include sufficient intake of protein and vitamins.

Physical Conditioning

Because physical strength and endurance is a factor in successful recovery, be sure to speak with your doctor about any conditions that might limit your activities - and about programs that can help you get in shape for your procedure.

Sleep Apnea

This condition causes a person frequently to stop breathing during sleep and can lead to increased risk of heart complications during the recovery process.


Depression can delay recovery due to a variety of factors, including increased dependence on opioid pain medication.

Memory Impairment and Movement Disorders

Certain conditions can result in increased risk for falls and confusion after surgery.

Staph Infections

There is increased risk post-surgery for bacteria to to cause infection. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a quarter of surgical patients carry staph bacteria in their nasal passages without symptoms.

Surgical Site Skin Preparation

Do not shave the skin around the area where surgery will occur.

Preparing for Surgery

Studies indicate that patients who understand their treatment and recovery are more likely to have better outcomes. If your ProMedica Physician recommends surgery, be sure to share all relevant medical information. And be sure to talk with your health care team about the surgery and hospital stay if required. Questions to ask include:

  • What are the benefits and risks of this surgery?
  • What are the possible complications and how likely are they to occur?
  • Are there tests or other medical evaluations needed before surgery? How, when and where do I have them conducted?
  • What should I expect after surgery? What will be my recovery time?

Attend Pre-Op University

ProMedica Orthopaedic Institute’s Pre-Op University is a free educational class for anyone considering or already scheduled for joint surgery. The 90-minute class provides instruction and information to move your from hospital to recovery as quickly as possible. Your orthopaedic health care team will answer questions and discuss rehabilitation, post-surgery goals and the road to recovery.

You are encouraged to have a family member or friend attend with you and to become your “coach.” This person will play an important role in the success of your recovery. The Pre-Op University class covers:

  • What to expect before, during and after surgery.
  • Preventing complications after surgery.
  • Pain management.
  • Activity level, physical therapy and exercises.
  • The discharge process.
  • Preparing your home environment for recovery and rehabilitation.
  • Community resources that may be available after surgery.

To ensure you are well prepared for surgery and retain the information provided, we recommend you schedule attendance within 30 days of surgery. Prior to the class, the surgeon’s office provides you with a notebook with information specific to your surgery. You need to bring this notebook to class. After completing the class, you receive a certificate of attendance. You must bring this certificate and your notebook to the hospital on the day of your surgery.

Pre-Op University takes place Tuesdays from 1-2:30 p.m., and Wednesdays from 5:30-7 p.m., in the ProMedica Wildwood Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital conference room on Level 1. For more information or to register, please call 419-578-4295.

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