Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I take my regular medication?
- Will I have my surgery as soon as I am admitted to hospital?
- Will I see my surgeon prior to surgery?
- What do I need to take with me to hospital?
- Can I bring my mobile phone and computer to the hospital?
- What do I need to do before the operation? Eating, washing etc.
- What mobility aids will I need after my operation? How do I arrange these?
- Do I need to make a post-operative appointment?
- How do I obtain a work certificate?
- What is the process for discharge from hospital?
After wound healing
- When does the swelling stop?
- What if part of my wound is still oozing?
- When can I exercise?
- When will I be back to normal?
- When can I travel by aeroplane?
- Will I beep going through the Airport security?
Pins (Toes only)
Can I take my regular medication?
Yes you can, even on the day of surgery with a small sip of water. Patients with diabetes and those on blood thinning tablets will have special instructions. In general you will be asked to stop medication such as Aspirin or Clopidogrel (Plavix) 10 days prior to surgery and Warfarin 5 days prior to surgery.
Will I have my surgery as soon as I am admitted to hospital?
Yes, on your scheduled day however, there may be a wait depending on the order of the operating list.
Will I see my surgeon prior to surgery?
Yes. Your surgeon will see you in the pre-operative holding area before your operation or earlier if there are any relevant issues.
What do I need to take with me to hospital?
You will need your documentation for admittance to the hospital, all relevant X-rays, any medication you may be on, loose clothing and a spare change of clothes.
Can I bring my mobile phone and computer to the hospital?
Yes you can. You are only able to make telephone calls in the Cairns area from your bedside phone, so if you live on the Tablelands it is a good idea to bring your mobile. Laptop computers can be used whilst you are recovering, the hospital is now equipped with a wireless Internet connection, at a cost.
What do I need to do before the operation? Eating, washing etc.
Fasting is normally 6 hours prior to anaesthetic. You will be told by the surgeon’s rooms when to commence fasting. We recommend that you shower prior to surgery using medicated soap or shower gel.
What mobility aids will I need after my operation? How do I arrange these?
These should be arranged prior to your hospital admission. If you require crutches, these will need to be fitted. You can hire mobility aids or purchase them.
Do I need to make a post-operative appointment?
Your surgeon would like to see you 10 to 15 days after the surgery, this appointment will be arranged when your theatre date is booked. If however this is overlooked you can call the Reef Orthopaedic Clinic on 07 4041 8000 during normal working hours.
How do I obtain a work certificate?
For all certificates call the rooms after surgery.
What is the process for discharge from hospital?
Discharge is usually around 10.00am. You will be discharged when pain is controlled by oral medication and you are mobilising safely.
When can I drive?
For motor vehicle insurance purposes you are safe to drive when you can walk comfortably. You are not cleared to drive until 6 weeks after a Total Knee Replacement. For Upper Limb surgery different restrictions may apply and this should be discussed with you surgeon.
What do I do if my dressings get wet?
Take the dressings down, pat the wounds dry and replace with gauze, a crepe bandage or adhesive dressing.
What if my bandages become blood stained and or tight?
If this occurs call the Reef Orthopaedic Clinic on 07 4041 8000 and we will arrange for the dressings to be changed.
After wound healing
When does the swelling stop?
All patients can vary, but as a guide swelling often increases over the first 6 weeks and then reduces to normal over the next 6 weeks. This is the normal way the body heals. Rest and elevation helps with lower limb operations. Swelling is common and can cause stiffness and mild nerve pain so it is important to minimise it as much as possible.
What if part of my wound is still oozing?
Some people do have slower healing rates. Change the dressing daily and keep your wound covered.
Do not take any antibiotics without first discussing it with your surgeon. This is particularly important if you have had a joint replacement.
When can I exercise?
Your surgeon and physiotherapist will advise you. In general, you can begin light exercise after 6 weeks and more vigorous activities at 3 months.
When will I be back to normal?
Three months is the healing time for most procedures although larger operations may take up to 12 months.
When can I travel by aeroplane?
You can travel anytime but there are added risks of deep venous thrombosis during the first three months.
Will I beep going through the Airport security?
Ordinarily no, however in some cases you may activate an X-ray machine (i.e. joint replacement or large metallic screws). If uncertain, ask the rooms for a certificate or take your X-rays with you.
Pins (Toes only)
Can I damage them if I knock them?
Usually not, however if the toe shape changes or there is prolonged (not just immediate) pain call the office.
Will I have pain?
Some pain after surgery is unavoidable. Severe pain that escalates rather than subsides is of concern and you should contact us. There shouldn’t be excessive pain after more than a few days so contact us if this is the case.
Which painkillers should I take?
In general, we recommend regular paracetamol (8 tablets/day), regular anti-inflammatories if tolerated and stronger painkillers (Tramadol or Endone) as prescribed. Use ice packs and elevation hourly for the first few days.
What if I feel nauseated?
The most common cause for this is taking excess codeine or opiates such as Panadeine Forte or Tramadol. Move to using Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen if possible.
This information is not intended to be all-inclusive, just helpful prior to your surgery. If you have any further questions please discuss them with your surgeon.