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Frequently Asked Questions about Orthopaedic Surgery


What should I do the night before and the day of my surgery?

The night before surgery, you should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight. Ask your doctor any other questions you may have about medications or specific preparation for surgery. On the day of your surgery, please arrive on time as stated by the Pre-Admissions Testing Department.

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Who will manage my care?

In the days following surgery, your condition and progress will be closely monitored by your orthopaedic surgeon, nurses and physical therapists. Usually, a case manager is assigned to work with you as you move through your rehabilitation routines.

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How long will I be in the hospital?

The length of your hospital stay will largely depend on your condition and the type of surgery that was performed. Many orthoapedic procedures are done on an outpatient basis and do not require a hospital stay.

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What happens after orthopaedic surgery?

You should plan to go home with a family member or friend. You will be sent home with detailed instructions regarding any medications, limits on physical activity, and a plan, if needed, for when and where you can receive physical therapy services.

Should your surgery require you to stay in the hospital for any length of time, your discharge from the hospital will depend, to some extent, on when you "graduate" from physical therapy. When you're ready for discharge, the decision will be made concerning whether you can best continue to recover at home (the usual procedure) or in a facility where you can receive specialized rehabilitation help. If you do go to another facility, the goal will be to return you to your home as quickly as possible.

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How long is the recovery period?

Each procedure is quite unique and recovery times will be different for each patient/treatment. Please consult with your doctor regarding your personal recuperation and its details.

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What is the rehabilitation like after orthopaedic surgery?

For procedures that require a hospital stay, physical therapy usually begins on the first day after surgery. You will be encouraged to get out of bed and begin physical and occupational therapy, typically several brief sessions a day.

Regardless of whether you are receiving inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services, you can expect your physical/occupational therapy to use some combination of the following treatments:

  • Excerise
  • Massage
  • Manipulation
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Hydotherapy (water therapy)
  • Ulstrasound
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Splints, bandages and braces

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How can I manage once I go home after orthopaedic surgery?

Your physical therapist will give you a list of activities, exercises, and "dos and don'ts" when you leave the hospital, and you may also have the assistance of an occupational therapist or nurse to help with special needs depending upon the nature of your condition.

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Contact Information

Carl J. Shapiro Department of Orthopaedics
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215