Zachary P. Arntson, DO

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763-441-0298

FAQs

General

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Click here to view Dr. Arntson’s hospital and surgery center affiliations.

Please arrive for your appointment 15 minutes early in order to complete the registration process.

In addition, please bring the following:

  • Driver’s license or state ID
  • Insurance information
  • Copies of medical records, operative reports, x-rays, MRIs and CT scans from prior doctor visits
  • A list of your current medications and any known allergies

The best way to have paperwork filled out is at your appointment when you meet with Dr. Arntson. Everyone’s injury and work requirements are different, so it is best to have a discussion with Dr. Arntson about restrictions and when you will be able to return to work. Forms can also be faxed to Dr. Arntson’s care coordinator, at 763-241-8180, but it may take several business days to complete.

You can get cortisone injections every 2 to 4 months as long as they continue to provide symptomatic relief.

Two kinds of cortisone (a long-acting and a short-acting anti-inflammatory) and Lidocaine (numbing medicine) are injected at the same time. The Lidocaine will have a numbing effect and may reduce your pain for the first hour after the injection, but the cortisone takes from two to seven days to start working. How long the pain relief lasts varies for each patient. Also, approximately 15% of patients might experience increased pain the first 24 hours after a cortisone injection and for that reason could benefit from icing the area the first day.

Call our office for ANY concerns after surgery, prior to going to the ER or your primary MD.

Click here for our Orthopedic Urgent Care locations open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily.

If you are seen in an ER or clinic outside of the TCO clinics, DO NOT take antibiotics. If your provider suspects an infection at your surgical site, we need to see you in our clinic ASAP, especially if any infection is suspected prior to taking any antibiotics. Taking antibiotics can eliminate our ability to determine if a true infection is present and how it needs to be treated.  Often the suspected infection is a normal response after surgery.

  • Sleep is difficult to regulate after surgery.
  • Try to position yourself, with pillows, either in bed or a recliner to find a comfortable position.
  • Melatonin is a supplement that can help make you sleepy.
  • Pain medications can help if you take them before bedtime.
  • If you need prescription sleep aids, you may be asked to contact your primary care physician.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein. It commonly occurs in the thigh or calf. Deep vein thrombosis can develop after any major surgery. People who have surgery on the legs and hip are especially at risk.

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that breaks free and travels through the veins. If it reaches the lungs, it can block the flow of blood to the lungs and heart. A pulmonary embolism is a dangerous condition that can even lead to death.

Warning Signs of Blood Clots

  • Pain in your calf and leg, unrelated to your incision
  • Tenderness or redness about or below your knee
  • Swelling of your thigh, calf, ankle, or foot

Warning Signs of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, particularly with breathing

In the beginning, everything you do may seem more difficult. With just a few tips and a little practice, though, most people are able to quickly gain confidence and learn how to use a walking aid safely.

Make Your Home Safer

Making some simple safety modifications to your home can help prevent slips and falls when using your walking aid:

  • Remove throw rugs, electrical cords, food spills, and anything else that may cause you to fall.
  • Arrange furniture so that you have a clear pathway between rooms.
  • Keep stairs clear of packages, boxes, or clutter.
  • Walk only in well-lit rooms and install a nightlight along the route between your bedroom and the bathroom.
  • In the bathroom, use nonslip bath mats, grab bars, a raised toilet seat, and a shower tub seat.
  • Simplify your household to keep the items you need within easy reach and everything else out of the way.

Crutches

If you are unable to bear any weight on your leg or foot, you may have to use crutches

If your injury or surgery requires you to get around without putting any weight on your leg or foot, you may have to use crutches.

Proper Positioning

  • When standing up straight, the top of your crutches should be about 1-2 inches below your armpits.
  • The handgrips of the crutches should be even with the top of your hip line.
  • Your elbows should be slightly bent when you hold the handgrips.
  • To avoid damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your armpit, your weight should rest on your hands, not on the underarm supports.

Walking

Lean forward slightly and put your crutches about one foot in front of you. Begin your step as if you were going to use the injured foot or leg but, instead, shift your weight to the crutches. Bring your body forward slowly between the crutches. Finish the step normally with your good leg. When your good leg is on the ground, move your crutches ahead in preparation for your next step. Always look forward, not down at your feet.

Sitting

To sit, back up to a sturdy chair. Put your injured foot in front of you and hold both crutches in one hand. Use the other hand to feel behind you for the seat of your chair. Slowly lower yourself into the chair. When you are seated, lean your crutches in a nearby spot. Be sure to lean them upside down–crutches tend to fall over when they are leaned on their tips.

To stand up, inch yourself to the front of the chair. Hold both crutches in the hand on your injured side. Push yourself up and stand on your good leg.

Stairs

To walk up and down stairs with crutches, you need to be both strong and flexible. Facing the stairway, hold the handrail with one hand and tuck both crutches under your armpit on the other side. When you are going up, lead with your good foot, keeping your injured foot raised behind you. When you are going down, hold your injured foot up in front, and hop down each step on your good foot. Take it one step at a time. You may want someone to help you, at least at first. If you encounter a stairway with no handrails, use the crutches under both arms and hop up or down each step on your good leg, using more strength.

If you feel unsteady, it may be easier to sit on each step and move up or down on your bottom. Start by sitting on the lowest step with your injured leg out in front. Hold both crutches flat against the stairs in your opposite hand. Scoot your bottom up to the next step, using your free hand and good leg for support. Face the same direction when you go down the steps in this manner.

Canes

A cane can help if you have minor problems with balance or stability or weakness in your leg or trunk.

A cane can be helpful if you have minor problems with balance or stability, some weakness in your leg or trunk, an injury, or a pain. If you are elderly, using a single point cane may help you to walk more comfortably and safely and, in some cases, may make it easier for you to continue living independently.

Proper Positioning

  • When standing up straight, the top of your cane should reach to the crease in your wrist.
  • Your elbow should be slightly bent when you hold your cane.
  • Hold the cane in the hand opposite the side that needs support. For example, if your right leg is injured, hold the cane in your left hand.

Walking

To start, set your cane about one small stride ahead of you and step off on your injured leg. Finish the step with your good leg.

Stairs

To climb stairs, place your cane in the hand opposite your injured leg. With your free hand, grasp the handrail. Step up on your good leg first, then step up on the injured leg. To come down stairs, put your cane on the step first, then your injured leg and then, finally, your good leg, which carries your body weight.

Walkers

If you have had total knee or total hip replacement, a walker will provide the most stability.

If you have had total knee or total hip replacement surgery, or you have another significant problem, you may need more help with balance and walking than you can get with crutches or a cane. A pickup walker with four legs will give you the most stability. A walker lets you keep all or some of your weight off of your lower body as you take steps. With a walker, you use your arms to support some of your body weight. As your strength and endurance get better, you may gradually be able to carry more weight in your legs.

Positioning

  • When standing up straight, the top of your walker should reach to the crease in your wrist.
  • Your elbows should be slightly bent when you hold the handgrips of the walker.
  • Keep your back straight. Don’t hunch over the walker.
  • Check to be sure the rubber tips on your walker’s legs are in good shape. If they become uneven or worn, you can purchase new tips at a drug store or medical supply store.

Walking

First, position your walker about one step ahead of you, making sure that all four legs of the walker are on even ground. With both hands, grip the top of the walker for support and move your injured leg into the middle area of the walker. Do not step all the way to the front. Push straight down on the handgrips of the walker as you bring your good leg up so it is even with your injured leg. Always take small steps when you turn and move slowly.

Sitting

To sit, back up until your legs touch the chair. Use your hands to feel behind you for the seat of the chair. Slowly lower yourself into the chair.

To stand up, push yourself up using the strength of your arms and grasp the walker’s handgrips. Do not pull on or tilt the walker to help you stand up.

Stairs

Never climb stairs or use an escalator with your walker.

OrthoIllustrated
OrthoIllustrated is an Internet-based resource for Sports Medicine patient education. On this interactive website, patients will find information about the diagnosis and treatment of common Sports Medicine
injuries.

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS)
The latest source for Legislation, educational, health care policy and research information. The site includes the bylaws and position papers of the AAOS, and the latest federal and state laws enacted that pertain to the practice of orthopedics and medicine.

American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons (AAHKS)
An information source for latest trends in joint replacement surgery about the hip and knee.

Arthritis Foundation
The mission of the Arthritis Foundation is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. Discusses non operative means of dealing with arthritis. Gives local resources that are available.

Travel Protocols for those with Metal Implants
Please see this page on the Transportation Security Administration website that outlines special
arrangements for those with certain medical conditions.

PerfectFit Physical Therapy
Control your path to better health with an easy way to faster physical therapy results. Click the link to the PerfectFit website, where you can enter your unique code.

BostonShoulderInstitute.com
An additional source of information regarding a variety of shoulder conditions with descriptions of anatomy treatment options.

LiftMyArm.com
Website describes shoulder rotator cuff repair and shoulder replacement options.

Before Appointment

No, you do not need a referral in most cases. You can always check with your insurance company before your appointment to confirm.

If you have the required paperwork or any questions regarding worker’s compensation, please contact Kristin at 763-441-0298. Please know that getting approval from any worker’s compensation insurance company may take several days.

Ice should be used during the acute phase (first 24 to 48 hours) following an injury, or whenever there is swelling. Ice decreases the blood flow to the area, which in turn decreases swelling and inflammation. Heat does the opposite.  It is increases blood flow to the area and can provide pain relief once the swelling and inflammation has subsided. Heat is good to use prior to doing any exercises or physical therapy as it warms up your muscles.

Before Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight (this includes water, coffee, juice, gum or candy) unless you are given different instructions by your surgeon or anesthesiologist. It is dangerous to be put to sleep or sedated when you have food or liquid in your stomach. Please follow instructions given by the surgery center nurse regarding preoperative medications.
  • Please bathe or shower the night before or morning of your surgery.
  • Try to get a good night of rest before the morning of your surgery.
  • Jewelry and/or makeup should not be worn the day of surgery. Valuables such as jewelry, cash, credit cards, etc., should be left at home.
  • Contact lenses are not to be worn to surgery. If you wear contact lenses, please bring your contact case with you or wear glasses.
  • As a rule, dentures (full or partial) must be removed prior to surgery. You will be provided with a denture cup so that they can be returned to you as soon as possible following surgery.
  • Before any medication is given or other preparations are started, you must sign a consent form. Signing the consent form means that you understand your doctor’s explanation of the surgical procedure.
  • If you are having anesthesia services, you will not be permitted to drive yourself home after surgery. The drugs and/or anesthesia you may receive will make it unsafe for you to drive a car, walk to your home, or use public transportation. Please arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home within one (1) to three (3) hours after your surgery and remain with you during the first night after surgery.
  • Remember to adjust your work/social schedule accordingly during your anticipated recovery time.
  • Pick up any throw rugs or other items that my be easily tripped over.
    Arrange items that you will use regularly so they are within low reach (telephone, radio, TV remote, bathing items, plates and drinking glasses, medications, etc.). Prepare and freeze a few weeks worth of meals that can be easily re-heated.
  • If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery
  • Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later
  • Photo ID
  • Insurance Card
  • Friend or family member who will be available the entire time and take you home after surgery
  • Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing
    • Shoulder/elbow surgery: zip-up or button down shirt
    • Knee surgery: loose fitting pants or shorts
  • Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours
  • Do Not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip home
  • The combination of anesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal and try to avoid greasy food for the first 24 hours
  • If you had surgery on an extremity (leg, knee, hand or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain
  • Take your pain medicine as directed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain

This will be determined on case by case basis. There are two typical options and described below.

General

General anesthesia is used for many types of major surgery. During general anesthesia the entire body, including the brain is anesthetized. The patient has no awareness, feels nothing and remembers nothing of the surgical experience afterward. General anesthesia is administered by injecting a liquid anesthetic into a vein, or by breathing a gas anesthetic flowing from an anesthesia machine to the patient through a mask or tube. A plastic endotracheal tube or a mask placed over the airway is frequently used to administer gas anesthetics. With the tube in place, the airway is protected from aspiration of stomach fluids into the lungs. It is normal to have a slight sore throat after your surgery.

Regional

Injection of anesthetic into the neck region for shoulder and elbow surgery or low back for hip and knee surgery. This blocks pain impulses before they reach the brain. With this anesthetic, mental alertness is unaffected. Sedation, or even sleep may be offered to make you comfortable throughout the surgical experience. To receive the injection, you lie down while the anesthetic is injected into the neck or shoulder region. To make placement of the needle almost painless, your skin is first numbed with local anesthetic. This anesthetic may last for 6 to 8 hours and sometimes longer. It is important to start taking your postoperative pain medicine as soon as you begin to feel the onset of discomfort or when the numbness begins to wear off.

** Your anesthesiologist will speak with you directly prior to surgery to review your choice of anesthesia

After Appointment

  • For non-narcotic medication, please call your pharmacy to request a refill and they will contact our office.
  • For narcotic medication refills, please call Kristin at 763-441-0298 because you will need to come to the office for another prescription to hand carry to your pharmacy.
  • Prescriptions cannot be refilled on weekends or after 5pm on weekdays.

Swelling will peak 48 hours after surgery. Elevation is the key to reducing swelling and pain. Elevate your arm/leg above the level of your heart as much as possible the first week, and try t move your fingers/toes to help reduce swelling. If your pain is worsening despite elevation, you may need to have your cast split or changed. During working hours, call Kristin, our care coordinator at 763-441-0298 to schedule a cast check appointment. After working hours you will need to visit an urgent care or ER for assistance.

To pay your bill online, click here.

For general billing information, please visit the TCO insurance and billing page. To visit page, click here.

To visit TCO’s Physical Therapy page, click here.

  • You must be off all narcotic medications.
  • When you feel that you are able to operate a vehicle safely while wearing any medical devices placed at the time of surgery (sling, brace, or boot).
  • If surgery was performed on your right leg, discuss with your surgeon prior to driving.
    • Typically: Six weeks for right-sided surgery and two weeks for left-sided surgery.
  • When you feel ready, and work will allow you to return.
  • This can also be discussed at your first appointment following surgery.

Our team is here to help you with any concerns you may have going forward after your surgery. If there are concerns NOT covered on this FAQ page, please contact our office.

  • During office hours, please call Kristin, our care coordinator at 763-441-0298
  • During the weekend or after hours, please call our office and you will be directed to the on-call physician or physician assistant.