Questions You Should Be Asking Prior To Surgery
How do I get to and from my surgery?
You will need to have a driver if you are scheduled for outpatient surgery. Taxi cabs and Uber are not advised, as you will likely require assistance to gain access to your home. Additionally, you may still have some of the anesthetic in your system, or may be dealing with pain, both of which may make travelling alone dangerous. Will my surgery be inpatient or outpatient? Most surgeries are outpatient, and almost all arthroscopies are outpatient. Dr. Furie performs these procedures at the Atlanta Outpatient Surgery Center (near Northside Hospital) or at Atlanta Medical Center. Knee hip and shoulder arthroplasty are usually scheduled as inpatient procedures and require an overnight stay at the hospital.
Who will provide my anesthesia and what kind of anesthesia will I have?
Each facility provides its own anesthesia team. If anything but the most basic surgery is being planned, you will have a pre-operative meeting with the anesthesiologist. The surgeon, anesthesiologist and the patient all contribute to the decision as to which type of anesthetic will be used. General anesthesia and regional anesthesia both have benefits and risks. In some cases a combination of the two is desired in order to maximize patient comfort.
What happens after the surgery?
Upon discharge from the hospital or surgery center the patient will have a set of discharge instructions to follow. The operative extremity will usually require elevation to limit swelling. The use of crutches or a walker may be necessary, and the "weight bearing status" will be delineated. Most often, after a hip or knee replacement the patient will be allowed to bear weight as tolerated, but after surgery to fix a lower extremity fracture the weight bearing may be limited. Additionally, for people who are immobilized in casts or splints, or who won't be walking normally, a form of anticoagulation will be prescribed to prevent deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or clots.
Do I have to worry about complications?
With any surgery, no matter how minor, there is always a risk. Fortunately, the risks associated with most arthroscopies are minimal. The risk of complication with joint replacement surgery is higher, and is frequently related to the patients other medical conditions, i.e. obesity, diabetes, prior surgeries. The risk of infection is minimized by using intravenous antibiotics. The risk of DVT is limited by using mechanical pumps and oral medications. Other risks are minimized by having patients meet with their primary care physician pre-operatively. Close post-operative surveillance by the team at Global Orthopedics and the patient's physical therapist also significantly contribute to better outcomes.