Joint Surgery at Arkansas Surgical Hospital: What to Expect

Joint Surgery at ASH: What to Expect

Feeling apprehensive about an upcoming surgery is normal.  Many patients find that having plenty of information about what they can expect before a surgical procedure can help ease anxiety.

Here is a general outline of what you can expect when you undergo joint surgery at Arkansas Surgical Hospital.  For detailed information, such as what to bring with you on the day of your surgery, click here.

Preparing for Surgery

In the weeks leading up to your procedure, you will receive instructions from your doctor that will prepare you for your surgery.  Some of these may include:

  • Remain as active as possible.  Your doctor may ask you to perform pre-surgical exercises to strengthen your muscles prior to your procedure.  In fact, to reduce complications and shorten your recovery, it’s ideal to get in the best physical shape possible!
  • If you smoke, reduce or quit.  Smoking affects circulation, delays healing, and slows recovery.
  • To reduce your infection risk, get in the habit of vigorously washing your hands.  (You will want to keep this habit up during recovery, too.)
  • 14 days before your surgery, stop taking multivitamins, Vitamin E, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and all herbal products.
  • 7 days before your surgery, stop taking aspirin, all aspirin-including products, and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.

For your safety, a medical clearance may be required to ensure that you are healthy enough for surgery.  This occurs during your pre-testing appointment, which is usually two to four weeks prior to your surgery date.  Depending on your surgery type, it can include bloodwork, an EKG, and a chest X-ray.  Pre-anesthesia evaluation and testing will also be performed prior to your surgery.

The Day Before Your Surgery

Only take medications that have been approved by your doctor.  These typically include heart, blood pressure, anti-seizure, and stomach medications, but be sure to check with your doctor first for exact instructions.  Do not eat or drink after midnight unless you have your doctor’s approval to do so.

The Day of Your Surgery

Clarify with your physician which medications you can take with a small sip of water on the morning of your surgery.

After you check in to Arkansas Surgical Hospital, a pre-operative nurse will start getting you ready for surgery.  While in pre-op, labs will be drawn.  This typically takes about half an hour, after which you and your doctor will receive your results.

In pre-op, your IV will be started and your surgical site will be prepped.  An attendant will bring your family or caregiver to see you.  Your family or caregiver will have a pager that will alert them when the doctor or staff would like to speak to them.

Once you are ready for surgery, you will be taken to the operating room.  The estimated time of surgery is 2 hours or more; however, the time can vary depending on your procedure.

After your procedure, your surgeon will speak to your family in a private consultation room and discuss the outcome of the surgery.  If you had an outpatient procedure, your family will be able to join you in recovery.  If you had an inpatient surgery, you will be able to see your family when you get to your patient suite in the Patient Care Unit.

Recovery Room/Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

Typically, you can expect to be in recovery in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, or PACU, for about an hour.  Specially-trained RNs (registered nurses) will monitor your recovery and address any nausea and pain you might experience.

Patients having outpatient surgeries are discharged directly from the recovery area.  Patients who have more extensive surgeries will stay in one of Arkansas Surgical Hospital’s 41 patient suites.

Your Patient Suite

Patient suites include a fully-equipped patient care area and a separate living space for your family or caregiver.  This living space includes a pull-out sofa, television, and sitting area.  Our physician owners know that when patients don’t have to worry about the comfort of their loved one, they can get better rest—making their recovery that much easier.

Typically, you can expect to stay in the hospital room from one to three days, depending on your surgery.  While here, you will be evaluated and treated by a variety of care providers, including your surgeon, physician’s assistant (PA), nursing staff, patient care techs, physical therapist, and physical therapy aides.  A member of the hospital leadership team will check on your progress and verify that we are meeting your expectations.

As a physician-owned hospital, we work to make you as comfortable as possible before, during, and after your joint surgery.  If you have any questions about your upcoming procedure, please call Arkansas Surgical Hospital at 800-901-0907.

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