Scheduling Your Surgery
Once you have decided to proceed with surgery, there are a number of things that need to be taken care of before the day of the operation:
- Select the date and hospital for the surgery (see below).
- Start taking iron and vitamin supplements.
- Make an appointment to see the internist (see below).
- Have the necessary lab work done (see below).
- Stop taking certain medications in the days before surgery (see below).
- See Dr. Hirshorn for a final visit to make sure everything is in order (see below).
Selecting a date for surgery
Dr. Hirshorn is usually scheduled ahead for about four weeks. Calling us or filling in our contact form will also assist you with getting your appointment started, and with selecting an internist if you do not have one on staff at the hospital where you will have your surgery.
Appointment with the Internist
This is major surgery so medical evaluation by an internist is needed before we proceed with the operation. The internist will also see you daily while you are in the hospital to make sure that any medical complications which may develop are promptly recognized and treated.
It is best when your own internist is on staff at the hospital where you will have your surgery. If not, we will select an internist for you who is familiar with joint replacement patients, and who works with Dr. Hirshorn on a regular basis. An appointment with the internist is usually made 5 to 7 days before surgery, unless you have some serious medical problems that need more time to correct. If you have any infection (teeth, bladder, prostate, kidney, uterus, etc.), it should be treated and cleared up before undergoing joint replacement surgery.
Diseases such as diabetes and heart disease do not disqualify you from surgery, as long as they are under control. Some conditions may make the risk of joint replacement too great (chronic infection or a recent heart attack or stroke). The internist will help you weigh the risks of surgery against your age and general health.
Office Visit Before Surgery
A day or two prior to your surgery, you will come to our office for a final preoperative visit to make sure everything is in order. Your vital signs will be checked, allergies and current medications will be reviewed, and you will be given papers to take with you to the hospital. You will also have a chance to ask Dr. Hirshorn any unanswered questions you may have. If your internist has not done all the necessary blood tests, we will send you to the hospital to do additional tests.
Trimming down medication before surgery
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped three days prior to your hip surgery. If you are taking aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs such as Percodan, Excedrin, or Anacin, these should be stopped 7 days prior to your surgery. If you are on Coumadin it will have to be stopped, under the supervision of your internist, several days prior to your surgery.
The reason that these medications are discontinued is because they can increase bleeding at the time of surgery.
Extra strength Tylenol, Darvocet, Percocet and Tylenol with Codeine may be taken by mouth up to the night before your operation. Your internist may want you to take certain of your regular medicines (for high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) with a sip of water on the morning of surgery, even though you are not supposed to eat or drink anything after midnight. You may do so.
What to bring and not to bring to the Hospital
- Bring this manual with you.
- The forms and papers given to you in the office to take to the hospital.
- Make-up kit (women).
- A list of important phone numbers, including those of friends you might want to call while you are in the hospital.
- Sturdy bedroom slippers with non-skid soles.
- The hospital will provide you with a gown to wear in bed but you may bring your own if you wish.
- A knee-length robe (a longer robe makes walking difficult).
- Do not bring your own medications – it causes confusion and the nurses prefer to dispense all medication (including vitamins) so that they know what you are getting.
- Do not bring credit cards, jewelry or other valuable items, and no more than $5 in cash.
- Some people like to bring their favorite pillow.
- Medical insurance card(s). (Medicare and/or other)
- Reading material.
- Cassette recorder, headphones and tapes if you want music.
- Crutches or walker: if you already have these have someone bring them to the hospital the day after surgery. If not, they will be provided for you to take home when you leave the hospital.
- Cold therapy device – to be put on after surgery