Hip, Knee and Shoulder Surgery FAQs

Making the decision to have surgery

This is an important decision and adequate time and consideration should be given to the decision making process, just like any other important decision in life.

Being informed and aware of all the relevant information, which may influence your decision to have surgery, is paramount. Make sure you ask all the questions you need to, as the responsibility of making the correct decision is yours; relying on your surgeon or therapist to make that decision for you is incorrect, as you are the one experiencing the problems and it is your body and health. Surgeons should supply with you all the technical information and statistics about the operation, but only you should make the judgement about whether you should have surgery or not.

Expectations and outcome

What you can expect after the operation from your knee or shoulder or hip may be different from what can realistically be achieved with modern surgical techniques. It is therefore important that you tell your surgeon what you expect from the treatment and he in return, should tell you what could realistically be achieved. Again ask as many questions as you feel necessary to ensure you have an accurate representation of outcome after your surgery. Remember, expecting an “as good as new” result is more often than not unrealistic; a “substantial improvement on before” is more realistic for mostions.

What if I forget to ask everything?

This is not uncommon. It is recommended that you spend some time before your consultation writing down all the questions you need to ask. If after the consultation, you cannot recall certain information or need to further questions, get in touch with Mr. Patel’s office ; he will only be too happy to relay information back to you.

In this day and age, much information is available on the Internet. Mr. Patel is very happy for you to research your condition further in this way, but he cannot take responsibility for the veracity of the information you glean. If there are any discrepancies or further queries that arise from such searches, then please contact Mr Patel for clarification.

Once I have made the decision to have surgery what do I do?

Once you have discussed the treatment with your surgeon and are happy to proceed with surgery, you can arrange a date for the operation by contacting Mr. Patel’s office. Depending on your age and whether you have any medical co-morbidity, the hospital may contact you to arrange a pre-operative assessment. The nurse that conducts this will often ask about your medical history and medications you may be taking. In addition, blood tests, an ECG (heart tracing) or other tests/invetsigations may be carried out at this stage.

Please inform Mr Patel if you have any medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease, allergies) or are taking any medication, particularly, warfarin, aspirin or other blood thinner.

When should I stop eating and drinking before surgery?

If you are having a general anaesthetic, you should not have had anything to eat for 6 hours. You can have water up to 3 hours before surgery.

What about after the operation?

Mr Patel will have discussed your discharge plan with you before your operation. You should have an escort to accompany you home even after day case surgery. Please let Mr Patel know prior to surgery if no one is able to do this.

In the case of joint replacemnent, you will not be discharged until you have proven to the physiotherapist that you are mobilising safely, can negotiate stairs safely and can look after yourself in your home environment safely.

Pain relief

You will be discharged with analgesia to take home with you. This is usually in the form of 3 different medications, which can be taken together to be very effective. They are Paracetamol, Diclofenac (anti-inflammatory) and Dihydrocodeine (opiate). If you have an allergy to any of these drugs then alternatives will be prescribed.

Mr Patel strongly advocates their use to keep pain to a minimum; it should be noted that pain is more difficult to control if allowed to establish itself. If your pain is not well controlled then you should contact Mr. Patel’s office or your GP.

Mr Patel also recommends the regular application of ice as an adjunct to relieve pain and swelling in the acute post-operative period. When using ice, either in the form of a cold compress or a bag of frozen peas, it is best to place a towel over the joint (dressings) to keep it dry and apply the ice over this.

Your GP will receive a letter outlining your treatment and discharge plan. Mr Patel sees all patients within 2 weeks after surgery. Any stitches that need removing will be done at this time.

How soon can I drive or fly after surgery?

This is surgery dependent and best discussed with Mr Patel at your first follow up appointment. It is unwise to drive or fly before Mr Patel clears you to do so.

What can I do to help my recovery?

Surgical technology is advancing rapidly and thus outcomes are improving. Arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery has distinct advantages such as:

  • Lower complications
  • Reduced recovery times
  • Reduced time off work
  • Quicker return to full activity/sport

Much of this success is not solely dependent on the surgeon or the surgery, although performing the operation well is important! Following the physiotherapists instructions and rehabilitation program strictly that is set out for you is key to an excellent outcome. Diligence in this area pays big dividends and this cannot be emphasised enough.

Fees & Payments

Private medical treatment can be paid for in one of two main ways: through health insurance or self-pay. In either case, you are responsible for payment of fees; you have the contract with the health insurance company not the consultant. Please read the FIPO document on fees for private patients

It is therefore sensible to inform your insurance company before surgery rather than after, will meet all the likely costs of treatment.

If you are self-paying, estimates of hopsital, surgical and anaesthetic fees can be provided. Further treatment for complications or other modalities of treatment will incur further costs

Please view the following links to find out more about your surgery:


Links

Braces and Slings