Before & After Your Surgery
Where will my surgery be performed?
Dr. Goldhagen performs surgery at the following hospitals:
Review and update your medication list
Make sure you review and update your medications list prior to your surgery. We recommend that you put all your medications on an index card that you can keep in your wallet or in your purse. You should keep this updated and bring it to ALL your doctor visits. If surgery is scheduled, we need to know all your medications (including, vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter pills, and herbal remedies) before the surgery is scheduled.What you are taking may affect the surgical procedure being offered or your risk of a complication, such as excessive bleeding or blood clots. We need to know this very important information beforehand.
Before Your Surgery...
We will discuss the risks and benefits of your specific procedure. We will also discuss any alternatives or options that exist other than surgery, along with their attendant risks and benefits. We will try to answer all of your questions about the surgery, recovery, etc. Write down any questions you may have, because most patients will forget what they wanted to ask. We will also let you know what your insurance will cover and for how much you will be responsible. Knowing what is expected before surgery often hastens the recovery and makes it more tolerable.
Depending upon your medical conditions, you may need to be evaluated by your Primary Care Physician or other doctor (cardiologist / pulmonologist, etc.) prior to your surgical procedure. This is to provide you with the best care possible and to decrease your risk of a significant complication from the surgery. We will let you know if this evaluation is necessary, and arrange the appointmant for you. You will need to make sure the doctor you see sends us a copy of his report / findings.
After Your Surgery
Your surgery is over and now you are in recovery! Follow these simple protocols to ensure that you recover as quickly as possible:
Ice and Elevation Really Help
Make sure you ice and elevate the affected area. This will help reduce swelling and pain. Use the ice 20 minutes on / 20 minutes off as much as possible for the first 3 days after the surgery, and then as needed or after therapy. If you are sleeping comfortably at night without the ice you do not need to have someone wake you up to change the ice pack. Additionally, you should NOT walk with the ice pack on your leg (it is much too heavy!). Do not put the ice directly onto your skin. Put a wash cloth or hand towel on your skin first to protect it from too much ice.
Wound Care - Keep it Dry and Clean
Don't remove the dressing on your wound.We will change it on your follow-up visit. Shower quickly and keep the wound covered (saran wrap with tape, and then a large garbage bag with tape work really well). We will give you further instructions for wound care on your first follow-up visit.
We will let you know how much or how little we want you to move your extremity after surgery. Being allowed to move something doesn't mean it won't hurt!
Do not put anything down your cast (especially to try to scratch). An alternative is baby powder and a hair dryer set on "cool". Additionally, do NOT get your cast wet (unless you have been given a waterproof cast).
Take Pain Medication as Prescribed
Make sure you take your pain medication as prescribed. Pain medicine works best if you take it before you are in a lot of pain. Waiting too long to take the medication leads to having to use more pain medicine than normal, which can lead to side effects of the medicine, like nausea, constipation, and drowsiness. You should resume your pre-operative medications, unless your doctor tells you otherwise ALWAYS ask before resuming any blood thinner (such as aspirin, Plavix, or Coumadin).
Most patients are given some form of a narcotic, and Toradol (Ketorolac). Toradol is an anti-inflammatory medication that works well for post-operative pain relief, but is used for only the first 5 days after surgery. It is to be taken 4 times per day, with food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime). You do not need to wake up in the middle of the night to take it exactly every 6 hours. You should take the Toradol regardless of the pain. The narcotic is taken ONLY if the Toradol doesn't provide enough pain relief, and should be taken as prescribed. Most narcotics contain Tylenol, and it is NOT recommended to take any additional Tylenol for pain because this may lead to an overdose of Tylenol, which can cause irreversible liver damage.
Swelling, Bleeding, Bruising, Warmth
These are all very common and can be expected to occur to varying degrees after surgery. Do not wear any jewelry on an extremity that has had surgery. Elevating the affected extremity on pillows (higher than your heart) is usually a good idea after surgery. Surgically repaired tissue requires blood to heal. Extra blood flow means extra warmth to a specific area, and can be normal for several months after a surgical procedure (the bigger the procedure, the more increased blood flow and the more warmth that will last for a longer period of time).
To Weight-bear or Not to Weight-bear
You will be given specific instructions on whether you can walk on your operated leg immediately after surgery. When in doubt, ask, or don't put any weight on it. Remember, being allowed to bear weight, and having pain with bearing weight are 2 separate issues. There will be pain associated with weight-bearing immediately after surgery - this is normal.
Contact us Immediately ...
If you are experience any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive bleeding, swelling, or pain
- Sings of infection: fever of 101 degrees or more, red streaks on skin, pus from the wound (some light drainage may be normal)
- Persistent nausea or vomitting
- Intolerance to the pain medication
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, dizzyness
Follow Up Appointment
If you don't have an appointment already, call us at (256) 329-9133 to schedule one.