Preparing for Surgery

Before Your Surgery

We understand that preparing for a procedure may cause a few nervous moments, especially if you haven’t undergone surgery before. We hope the following information will help relieve some of your natural concerns and meet the needs of you and your family as you prepare for surgery:

  • Have your doctor explain exactly what the surgical process is and why surgery is necessary.
  • Be sure you understand all the risks and benefits of your surgery, as well as potential risks if you choose not to have the procedure done.
  • Assess your work and family schedule to determine what the best time is to schedule surgery.
  • Attend all scheduled pre-surgical appointments and be available to provide medical information. Bring someone with you to your pre-surgical appointments to take notes. Write down your questions ahead of time to discuss with your physician. A nurse or anesthesiologist may call to discuss your care in the time leading up to surgery.
  • Discuss with your physician expected recovery time; include your family and friends in your recovery plan.
  • Make arrangements for a ride to and from the hospital, since any surgery requiring anesthesia will render you unable to drive yourself home.
  • Line up a few helpers during your first days after surgery. You may need help running errands, picking up prescriptions and driving to follow-up appointments.
  • Choose one trusted person to help you make medical decisions. Listening to a committee of family and friends is likely to be stressful and confusing.
  • Know your rehab and physical therapy plan ahead of time. Commit to following it.

Surgery Partnership Agreement

Our goal is for you to have the best possible results from your surgery. Be an active partner, download and review the Surgery Partnership Agreement.

MOSH Surgery Agreement 7-19.pdf

For Patients Having Foot or Ankle Surgery

  • If you already have your own walker or crutches, bring them to the hospital to be fitted by your therapist.
  • If you do not already have crutches or a walker, you and your therapist in the hospital will help you determine which device is best for you.
  • If you are not able to safely use a walker or crutches, you may need either wheelchair or a knee scooter. These can be rented or purchased through a medical supply store and are not available at the hospital. Please check with your insurance carrier and medical supply store prior to your stay if you anticipate the need for this equipment.
  • Find out how to prepare your home before you have surgery.

For Patients Having Spine Surgery
The following manuals, provided with permission from the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses, will help you prepare for and recover from spine surgery:

  • Pre- and Post-Operative Spine Surgery Patient Manuals (PDFs)
    English | Spanish

Please ask you surgeon for any activity, therapy or intimacy restrictions.

Joint Effort Classes

Preparing for Your Orthopedic Surgery

The best start to a recovery program is preparing for the surgery in advance. At Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, our free Joint Effort class supports you before, during and after surgery through educational materials, one-on-one counseling and support.

Joint Effort offers all joint replacement patients the option to:

  • Attend regular classes
  • Take part in regular Joint Effort activities during your hospital stay
  • Ensure that all follow-up visits and therapy appointments are scheduled before you leave the hospital
  • Participate in various educational activities to optimize your procedure and recovery

What to Expect

Joint Effort is designed to help you feel more prepared and therefore more confident about what to expect during your hospital stay and once you are home. The class will familiarize you with our orthopedic unit, introduce you to your care team (nurses, discharge specialists, therapists and others), show where surgery and recovery will take place, and help clarify expectations from pre-procedure through recovery.

You will also receive a binder for Hip & Knee Surgery (PDF) or Shoulder Surgery (PDF).

How to Enroll

If you’re a candidate for surgery and are interested in attending Joint Effort, please talk with your doctor. For a complete listing of dates and times our classes take place, please call 414-527-5000. Please note all classes are held at Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.

Can’t make the in-person class? Watch this Joint Effort or this Total Shoulder Replacement patient education video.

Please note all classes are held at Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.

Surgery Eve & Day-Of Surgery Instructions

Don’t Eat or Drink

  • It’s generally recommended to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. This includes water, candy or gum.
  • Anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting if the stomach is not empty.
  • If the surgery involves the abdomen, there will also be a need to have an empty bowel.
  • Your doctor will provide specific instructions for your preoperative diet – pay close attention to these instructions.

Pack Light

  • A bag of toiletries and some loose comfortable clothes is a good start.
  • Bring crutches, walker, inhalers and CPAP machine if applicable.
  • If you are staying overnight, we encourage you to bring comfort items to assist in the healing process. Such items may include DVDs, iPod and laptop.

Bring Hospital Documents & Current Medications

  • Bring any documents your doctor has given you.
  • Bring picture ID and your insurance card.
  • Bring a list of your current medications, including vitamins or supplements.


  • Plan to arrive as directed by Pre-Admission Testing, generally 60-90 minutes prior to surgery start time.
  • There may be some waiting time before the procedure, so it’s a good idea to bring a book or magazine to read.
  • Professional valet drivers are available to safely park your car.
  • Bring anticipated co-pay with you and a small amount of cash for equipment, prescriptions or possible van service.

What Happens Just Prior to Surgery

  • Prior to surgery your blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate and temperature will be checked.
  • Your family will be allowed to stay with you in your room until you are transported to the operating room.

What Happens After Surgery

  • Upon recovery you may find yourself wearing a blood pressure cuff, oximeter and EKG leads.
  • The IV remains in place to deliver medication and fluids intravenously.

Pain Management

  • You are encouraged to notify the nurse immediately if pain is not sufficiently relieved; it is easier to control pain when it is mild than when it is severe.
  • You may not experience total pain relief but should have a pain rating that you consider acceptable and allows you rest, deep breathe and do your therapy.
  • Surgical pain lessens each day as your incision begins to heal.

Thirst & Nourishment

  • Some patients may only be allowed ice chips, sips of water or clear liquids the first day or two.
  • During this time nutritional needs are met through IV fluids. Patients then progress toward a regular well-balanced diet.
  • Room service is available. A menu for dining will be in your room.

Circulation & Movement

  • Changing position in bed, walking and prescribed exercise promotes circulation.
  • Good blood flow discourages the formation of blood clots and enhances healing.
  • Each day the patient is encouraged to increase physical activity and to be as independent as possible.

Surgical Incisions

  • You should expect pain in the area of the incision.
  • Report any unusual pain, swelling, fever, redness, discharge, numbness or flu-like symptoms immediately.

Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

  • PT may begin as early as the day of surgery.
  • PT is an important part of recovery because it helps the patient build strength, flexibility and endurance.
  • Many patients are given a home exercise program to continue their progress.

Hospital Discharge

  • Prior to discharge, patients will be given orthopedic post operation instructions and necessary prescriptions or medications.
  • The instructions provide reminders for aspects of home care.
  • You can expect to be tired in the first days following surgery.
  • Plan rest periods in your day during recovery.
  • If required, plan to schedule your follow-up appointment shortly after arriving home.