Pre Surgery    |    Day of Surgery    |    Post Surgery

What can I do to help make my surgery a success?
  1. Thoroughly read and follow your pre-procedure instruction sheet. This plan is a checklist of all the appointments, preparations, and planning necessary for your procedure. It is filled out and given to you by your surgeon at the time that you schedule your procedure date.

  2. Use your pre-surgery book as a guide to your joint procedure. Mark it up, make notes in it and highlight parts that are important to you. Share it with friends and family members who may be involved with assisting you. Bring this book with you to the hospital.

  3. Most importantly, ask questions. If you are unclear on anything, please do not hesitate to ask. The Questions and Notes sheets are designed for jotting down questions to ask whenever you meet with your surgeon, your nurse, or therapist.

  4. Recovery can be demanding and uncomfortable. Our goal is to assist you in returning to your normal activities as soon as possible.


How do I register for a pre-surgery class?

No registration is necessary for our free pre-surgery classes.


How many pre-surgery classes should I attend?

You only need to attend one class. We recommend that you attend a class that is closest to your surgery date.


How should I prepare my home before surgery?
  1. Arrange drawers and closets so that most frequently worn items may be reached easily. Don’t use bottom drawers or keep shoes on closet floor.

  2. Arrange kitchen cabinets so most frequently used items (i.e., glasses, plates) are easy to reach. Keep one or two frequently used pots/pans on top of the stove.

  3. Prepare and freeze meals in advance. Stock up on individually packaged drinks that can easily be carried in a pocket, i.e. boxed or small cans.

  4. Check your home for possible tripping hazards, such as throw rugs or cords that could be a safety hazard for you when you return home from your joint replacement procedure.

  5. Rent, borrow or purchase and set up any required medical equipment. This would include bathtub grab bars, a raised toilet seat, a bath or shower bench, that can fit safely in the shower, and other safety devices depending on individual needs.

  6. Have family or friends assist with transportation and pre-operative appointments.

  7. Plan for transportation to and from the hospital using a car large enough for you to get in and out of easily.


What equipment will I need post surgery?

Your doctor may recommend the use of medical supplies for use after your surgery. Your medical equipment should be purchased, borrowed or rented before your procedure. This will allow you time to become familiar with using them. It is wise to contact your insurance company prior to purchasing any equipment; they may require you to use a specific vendor, or may not provide coverage for the equipment. Most items can be found at the loan closets. Below are the most common pieces recommended, but your occupational therapist may recommend additional items to comply with post-operative precautions. 


  1. Walker – This device offers sturdy, stable support and may be used 1-10 days after your procedure.

  2. Crutches – Crutches must be adjusted for proper fit and are slightly more difficult to use than a walker. If you have stairs you will likely need crutches. Bring them with you to the hospital if they need to be fitted properly by your physical therapist.

  3. Raised Toilet Seat – This thick plastic extension makes the level of the toilet seat higher and safer. There are several styles and prices. Some are plastic and sit directly on the seat, while others are called “commode chairs” and sit over the toilet bowl and have arms to assist raising up from the seat.

  4. Bath or Shower Bench – This bench must be sturdy and fit securely into the tub or shower space of your home. The benches come in many styles and prices and may be borrowed from a loan closet or purchased through a medical supplier or retail store. This is a niceitem to have but not absolutely necessary.


What should I pack to bring to the hospital?
  • Comfortable loose-fitting clothes to be worn on the day of discharge.

  • Comfortable non-skid shoes/slippers that you can wear to the bathroom and in the halls with Physical Therapy. Shoes/slippers should not be tight as your feet might swell.

  • Pajamas or a nightgown that buttons up the front if you do not want to use the hospital gowns.

  • Comfortable short robe that buttons up the front (do not bring one that needs to be “stepped into”).

  • Personal hygiene items including: deodorant, toothbrush, shampoo, comb and brush, etc.

  • Your favorite relaxation CD’s

  • A list of your regular medications

  • Your insurance card

  • This educational booklet

  • Glasses

  • Laptop computer – we are wireless!

  • Cellphone and charger

  • Leave jewelry, large amounts of money and other valuables at home


How should I prepare the night before surgery?

Eat a healthy, light dinner the night before your operation, avoiding alcoholic beverages. Do not drink or eat anything after midnight or early in the morning the day of surgery as instructed by your surgeon. It is very important that you have nothing to eat or drink at least eight hours before your operation is scheduled. It is okay to take medications that you normally take daily (heart, thyroid, blood pressure, or antidepressants) with a small sip of water the morning of surgery. However, do not take the medication if you get sick

to your stomach when taking it without food. If you routinely take vitamins, do not take them on the morning of surgery.


Some patients are on pain medication before the surgery. It is okay to take this medicine with a small sip of water before coming to the hospital the morning of surgery if you are experiencing severe pain. If you have diabetes, and are taking medication by mouth, you should not take your morning dose. If you take insulin your endocrinologist or your primary care provider will instruct on how much insulin to take the morning of surgery. Check with your doctor for instructions.


How early should I arrive at the hospital on the day of my surgery?

You will need to come to the hospital approximately 1 1/2 hours before your surgery is scheduled to start.


Where should I park?

Free parking is available in the five-level garage located on the east side of Foothills Hospital. The garage’s entrance is on 48th Street and provides convenient access to the Emergency Department/Patient Entrance where Central Registration is located. Additional free parking is available in the surface parking lots in front of Foothills Hospital.


Where do I check in for surgery?

Check in at Central Registration, located on the first floor just inside the Emergency Department/Patient Entrance. Use a Check-In kiosk located at either end of the registration area. First select “Scheduled Appointment” followed by “Surgery/Pre-Anesthesia Testing” from the menu.


What do I need to bring with me to check in?

When you check in for your surgery, you will need to provide your height, weight, past medical history and current health status. You also need to bring a current list of medications, vitamins, herbs and supplements (including those that have been discontinued by your doctor prior to your surgery). Please bring a list of any allergies as well. If you have Advance Directives such as a Living Will and Medical Durable Power of Attorney, a copy of each will be needed. If you have had an EKG, chest x-ray or cardiac tests in the past year, please bring the name and phone number of the physician so we can contact them.   


Where will I be taken after check in? 

After check in is completed, you will be directed to Surgery – Pre-Op holding area on the second floor. A nurse will take you back into the pre-op area where you will change out of your clothes and into a hospital gown. Your family members and/or friends accompanying you may stay with you in the pre-op area if you wish. The nurse will go over your paperwork and start an IV in your arm. Please request the IV is placed in your forearm/hand, this will make it easier post-surgery. You will also meet your anesthesiologist and be asked to sign a consent form to receive anesthesia, a surgical/medical procedure consent form letting the hospital konw you have given permission to your doctor to perform surgery and a consent for transfusion blood or blood products if they are needed during the surgery. If you need glasses to read, please bring them with you. You should also bring with you the packet from the doctor's office and the information booklet about your surgery.


Once I'm taken into surgery, where will my family/friends go?

When you are taken to surgery, your family will be directed to wait in the Surgical Waiting Room. The volunteer there can assist with progress reports, and will inform your family of the room number you will be going to after surgery. After surgery, you will go to the Recovery Room until you begin to awaken and your vital signs are stable. Your surgeon will go to the Surgical Waiting Room and speak with your family. Please let your family know that you may be in the Recovery Room from 1-2 hours, or until you are awake.



What can I expect immediately following my surgery?

Once you are taken to your room after your surgery, your vital signs will be closely monitored. You will be given oxygen through your nose (nasal canula) for up to 24 hours. Pain medication may be given by IV pump or bymouth. You will start out with clear liquids and advance your diet as tolerated. You may have a foley catheter in your bladder. The nursing staff will assist you with your personal hygiene.


After my surgery, when will I be able to go home?

Your surgeon will allow you to be discharged from the hospital and return home once the following tasks are completed:

  • You can get in and out of bed by yourself.

  • You can urinate without a catheter.

  • You are passing gas and able to have a bowel movement. 

  • You can eat without nausea and vomiting.

  • Your pain is being controlled by oral pain medicine.

  • You can dress, use the toilet and shower on your own.

  • You have been "cleared" by the Physical Therapist and the Occupational Therapist. 


What safety precautions need to be taken for when I return home?

Here are some things you can do at home to ensure your safety after you have been discharged from the hospital. Be sure to pick up any fall hazards such as throw rugs and cords. Place frequently used items in areas that are easy to reach. Consider preparing meals in advance. Make note of when to take your medications.   


How will I learn to do everyday tasks post surgery, like bathing and dressing?

An Occupational Therapist is responsible for teaching you how to safely perform daily tasks, such as bathing or dressing without endangering your new joint. Occupational Therapists will evaluate your need for adaptive equipment and teach you how to work with reachers, dressing aids, shower benches and raised toilet seats as needed. O.T. will advise you on lifestyle changes with your new joint. (Source: Knee Replacement Packet)


​What if I need help outside of what my family can provide?

Your Discharge Planner/Social Worker is responsible for helping you and your family identify any needs you may have during your hospital stay and after you have returned home. They also work with other team members to plan your discharge and home care needs. Discharge Planners/Social Workers are excellent resources for community and government agencies should you need that type of assistance.