Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery

Be prepared to ask questions about your orthopedic surgery and your hospital stay.

Be prepared to ask questions about your orthopedic surgery and your hospital stay.

When we go for surgery we turn over our care to highly trained doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. However, studies show that patients who understand their treatment and recovery are more likely to have better outcomes. If your doctor recommends surgery, be sure to openly share all your medical information with your healthcare team.

Talk to your healthcare team about the surgery and your hospital stay. Some examples of helpful questions to ask your surgeon 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 do them?
  • What should I expect after surgery? What will be my recovery time?

Be sure to provide your healthcare team with a list of all the medications you take — including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and vitamins and supplements. It is particularly important before surgery that your care team knows whether you take a blood thinner medication or diabetes medications.  

Talk to your doctor about any allergies you have:  
If you or a family member has had any problems with anesthesia in the past, make sure your doctor knows.

Take steps before surgery to help you manage your first weeks at home. For example:

  • Arrange for help with daily tasks like shopping and laundry
  • If your mobility will be limited while you heal, prepare your home by rearranging furniture, removing rugs, and adding items like safety bars in the bathroom
  • Talk to your doctor's office about finding assistive items such as reachers or long-handled sponges


Information provided by AAOS.