The Day of Surgery
Every hospital has its own particular procedure, however, they often follow the basic routine outlined below. Your hospital stay will progress something like this:
What will happen at the hospital prior to surgery?
- Arrive at the hospital 2 hours before surgery.
- Complete the admission process.
- Have final pre-surgery assessment of vital signs and general health.
- Remove all personal belongings – dentures, hearing aids, hairpins, wigs, jewelry, glasses, contact lenses, nail polish, all underwear – and leave them with your family or friends during surgery. You will be dressed in a hospital gown and nothing else.
- Elastic stockings will be put on your leg(s) to help the blood flow and reduce swelling.
- There will be several checks to make sure the correct joint is being replaced: Dr. O’Neill will mark the joint to be operated on; nursing staff will check the consent form you signed to make sure it agrees with the procedure on the operating room list.
- Final meeting with anesthesiologist and operating room nurse.
- The anesthesiologist may administer a nerve block which numbs the entire leg. This helps with pain control after the surgery.
- Start IV (intravenous) catheter for administration of fluids and antibiotics during surgery.
- Transportation to the operating room.
Many people will be with you in the operating room during your one to three-hour surgery, including:
- Dr. O’Neill – your orthopaedic surgeon.
- Jessie – Dr. O’Neill’s physician assistant.
- Anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist – the doctor or nurse who gives you anesthesia.
- Scrub nurse – the nurse who hands the doctors the tools they need during surgery.
- Circulating nurse – a nurse who brings things to the surgical team.
The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will help you choose the best anesthesia for your situation. No matter what type of anesthesia you have, be assured you will not feel the surgery. Options include:
- General Anesthesia – You are put to sleep. Minor complications such as nausea and vomiting are common, but can usually be controlled and settled within 1-2 days.
- Spinal – Much like the epidural, you are numbed from the waist down with medicine injected into your back.
Surgery times may vary depending upon the difficulty of your case. The surgery may take several hours. Generally, you may spend 90 minutes – 2 hours in surgery.
You may have any of the following inserted:
- An Intravenous Tube (IV) – This is placed in your arm and used to replace fluids lost during surgery, administer pain medicine, or deliver antibiotics and other medications.
- A Catheter Tube – This may be placed in your bladder to help your healthcare delivery team keep up with your fluid intake and output. It is most often removed the day after surgery.
- A Drain Tube – This may be inserted at your surgery site to help drain blood and fluid from the joint to prevent fluid buildup and reduce swelling at the incision.