Preoperative Instructions for Surgery

Patient Guide to Safe Surgery

This article is one in a series of patient safety topics that provide simple, easy-to-follow checklists to help patients prepare for orthopaedic Arthroscopic surgery.

When we go for surgery we turn over our care to highly trained doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. However, we also know that patients who understand their treatment are going to get the most out of their hospital visit.

Talk to your caregivers, understand what is happening to you, and never be afraid to ask questions. Bring a friend or family member as your healthcare advocate.

Preoperative Consultation with Your Surgeon

When you visit your surgeon, use the following checklist to provide your surgeon and surgical team with necessary information about you and your orthopaedic problem.

  • Orthopaedic Problem. Describe when it began, how it bothers you, and what treatments you have tried for it.
  • Medical History. List all of your past and current medical problems and how they have been treated.
  • Family History. List diseases or health conditions that affect your family, including any problems that arose during surgery or with anesthesia.
  • Current Medications. List the medications you are taking and their dosages. Be sure to include any over-the-counter medications or diet supplements you take on a regular basis.
  • Allergies and Sensitivities. List all medication, food and environmental allergies (such as pollen or bee stings) that you have. Tell your surgeon if you have ever had an allergic reaction such as a rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing. There are some medications and foods that you may be sensitive to, even though you are not truly allergic to them. Include these medications and foods on your list and describe the side effects that you have experienced.
  • X-rays, Images, Operative Notes and Lab Tests. Bring copies of medical records, operative notes, x-rays, CT scans, MRI studies, and lab test results — especially those that relate to your orthopaedic problem.
  • Questions or Concerns. List the questions that you have about your health and your planned surgery. Discuss these with your surgeon and surgical team. It is important that you understand the goals of your arthroscopic surgery, how the surgery will be done, any possible risks or complications, and the plan for your recovery.
  • As the patient, you should request and/or confirm that your surgeon will preoperatively confirm and mark the surgical site.