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Pre-Operative Instructions

Preparing for Your Orthopaedic Surgery

You have been seen by one of our surgeons and have agreed to proceed with the surgery recommended to you. This is a quick guide of what to expect. You will receive additional information from the hospital as part of your pre-admission interview.

Scheduling Surgery

  • Your surgeon will complete the paperwork required to start the scheduling process and give this to the orthopaedic surgical scheduler.
  • The surgical scheduler will review the procedure instructions from you surgeon and will contact you within five (5) business days to discuss the surgical date. If you have not been contacted by our office within five business days of your appointment with the surgeon, please call your surgical scheduler.
  • Once a surgery date is decided, your surgical scheduler will arrange a pre-admission interview at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. During the preadmission interview, members of the nursing and anesthesia staff talk with you about your surgery - obtaining important information needed for your care, and giving you information you will need to prepare. In some cases, the interview takes place over the phone. In other cases, you will be asked to come to the hospital to meet in person with the staff and/or to obtain any necessary blood work, examinations, or tests.
  • Your surgical scheduler will also book your first post-operative appointment with the surgeon or nurse practitioner.
  • If your surgeon has informed you that you are going to need occupational or physical therapy after surgery, please tell your surgical scheduler so he/she can help you plan these services. You may also call our rehabilitation department at 617-667-4328 to arrange your first visit.
  • Blood-thinning medications should not be taken before surgery. Examples of blood-thinning medicines are aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, Nuprin, Aleve, and warfarin (Coumadin). Other medicines may also contain blood-thinning agents. These medicines increase your risk of bleeding during and after surgery. In general, these medications should be stopped 5 - 10 days before surgery. Note: If you take aspirin, warfarin, or another blood-thinning medicine on the advice of your doctor, please check with your surgeon or the doctor who prescribed the medicine before you stop taking it.
  • Your medications will be discussed in detail during your pre-admission interview. Please be sure to ask the nurse any questions you have about medications at this time. Be sure to discuss what medicines you should and should not take in the days leading up to your surgery and on the morning of the surgery itself. Make sure the nurse knows about any prescription medicines, non-prescriptions medicines, vitamins, herbs, or supplements you may be taking.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin or another diabetes medicine, please make sure you know how to adjust your medicine on the day of surgery when you will not be eating.
  • If you are admitted to the hospital in the month before surgery, please notify your surgical scheduler as soon as possible (or have a family member do so). This will allow us to re-schedule any pending appointments.
  • Because of last minute changes in operating room schedules, the exact time of surgery will be confirmed the day before the procedure.
  • While you are waiting for your surgery, please let your surgical scheduler know right away if there is any change in your health condition (such as a cold or flu).


  • To proceed with surgery we must obtain authorization from your insurance carrier. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will contact your insurance provider to obtain this authorization.
  • If your surgery is covered by worker's compensation, please be sure to discuss this with your surgical scheduler. He/she will explain more about what needs to occur in order to make sure that worker's compensation will cover your surgery. The process of obtaining needed authorizations for worker's compensation can sometimes take several weeks. This process must be complete before your surgery can be scheduled.

Work Notes and Other Paperwork

  • If you need a work note or disability paperwork as a result of your upcoming surgery, please let your surgical scheduler know as soon as possible. Because of the number of patients we care for each week, it takes our office up to 10 business days to complete these types of forms. If we receive them well in advance of your surgery, we will do our best to ensure that they are returned to you in a timely fashion.

The Day Before Surgery

  • Your surgical scheduler will call you the day before surgery to tell you what time to arrive.
  • Please shower the night before surgery.
  • Do not smoke on the day before surgery. This is irritating for your lungs.
  • Do not eat any solid food or drink any liquids after midnight. This includes water, candy, and chewing gum.

The Day of Surgery

  • If you've been asked to take routine or other medicines on the morning of surgery, please take them with a very small sip of water.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing and flat shoes.
  • Leave jewelry and valuables at home. If you wear contact lenses, please bring your glasses with you. Please remove any body piercings.
  • Please bring a complete list of all of your medications (including dosages) with you to the hospital. Include prescription medicine, nonprescription medicine, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
  • Your surgical scheduler will let you know where and at what time to report. Please check in at the surgery desk at the appropriate time. You are welcome to bring one or two family members or friends with you.
  • Because of urgent cases, there are often delays in the starting time of your surgery. Or your start times could be earlier than expected if last minute cancellations occur. If possible, bring something to read and arrive early.
  • If you are going home the same day after your surgery, you may not drive yourself home. Please make arrangements for someone to take you home.

If you have not been contacted by our office within five (5) business days of your appointment with the surgeon, please call your surgical scheduler.

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We hope this information is helpful. You will receive additional, detailed information from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as your day of surgery gets closer. Please be sure to let us know if you have any questions or need any special help preparing for your operation.

Contact Information

Sports Medicine & Shoulder Surgery
Carl J. Shapiro Department of Orthopaedics
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Carl J. Shapiro Clinical Center, 2nd Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-66-SPORT (667-7678)