Find solutions and help with any questions about surgery here
How do I find out if surgery is right for me?
The decision to have surgery should only be made after discussion with your orthopaedic surgeon. The decision to have surgery is yours and should not be made in a rush. Make the decision only when you are satisfied with the information you have received and believe you have been well informed. Keep in mind that your surgeon cannot guarantee that the surgery will meet all your expectations or that the surgery has no risks.
What are the risks of surgery?
All surgical procedures have risks, despite the highest standards of practice. While your surgeon makes every attempt to minimise risks, complications can occur that may have permanent effects. Surgeons will usually outline possible side effects or complications of a surgical procedure. It is important that you have enough information about possible complications to fully weigh up the benefits and risks of surgery.
General risks of surgery include:
- Pain and discomfort around the incisions
- Wound infections and treatment with antibiotics
- Nausea, typically from the anaesthetic - usually settles down quickly
- Heavy bleeding from the incisions
- Keloid scars - most scars fade and flatten, but some may become "keloid" and remain raised, itchy, thick and red
- Slow healing - most likely to occur in smokers and people with diabetes
- Separation of wound edges
- Allergies to anaesthetic agents, antiseptic solutions, suture materials or dressings
How much will it cost?
You should discuss costs before treatment rather than afterwards. Ask your surgeon to provide an estimate of the surgical, anaesthetic and hospital fees that may apply. This can only be an estimate because the actual treatment may differ from the proposed treatment. If further treatment is needed due to complications or the patient chooses other options, extra costs are likely to apply. A Medicare or health fund rebate may be available for treatment. Ask your surgeon about the costs that may be covered by Medicare or private health funds.
What happens before surgery?
- Your surgeon needs to know your medical history to plan the best treatment. Fully disclose any health problems you may have had.
- You will have a physical examination to the test the range and muscle strength of the problem area. An X-ray examination is done to see how much damage is present. To detect problems that could complicate surgery or anaesthesia, blood tests may be taken.
- Give the surgeon a list of all medicines you are taking or have recently taken. Include prescription medicines and those bought "over the counter", without prescription. Include medicines such as insulin, warfarin and contraceptive pills that are taken for long term treatments.
- Do no take aspirin, medicines containing aspirin (such as cough syrups) or large amounts of vitamins (particularly Vitamin E). You may be advised to stop taking anti-inflammatory medicine 7 to 10 days before surgery. These may increase the risk of excessive bleeding during and after surgery.
- Your surgeon may prescribe drugs, such as antibiotics and small doses of blood-thinning agents, to be administered prior to surgery.
- Stop smoking at least 2 weeks before surgery. Smoking increases surgical and anaesthetic risk and impairs healing.
- A physiotherapist or hand therapist may assess your condition and discuss an exercise program to assist rehabilitation after surgery.
What types of treatment does the Centre perform?
We have grown to become a premier orthopaedic and sports injury management centre where care is provided by orthopaedic surgeons and sports physicians. While solidly based on general orthopaedics, the group offers expertise covering a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions grouped by:
What can I do after surgery to aid recovery?
Recovery takes time and depends on the type of surgical repair. You may be able to go home the same day of surgery, but may have to stay in hospital overnight. After open surgery, you may to stay in hospital 1 or 2 nights.
You will have a follow-up visit with your orthopaedic surgeon in 7 to 10 days. You may have difficulty with day-to-day activities for some time after surgery. An exercise program is important to aid your recovery and begins soon after surgery.
Your therapist will design a program for you. It starts with gentle exercises that gradually help you regain movement. With the advice from your therapist you may later start doing exercises that are intended to strengthen muscles based on your recovery. You will also learn ways to avoid recurrent problems in the future.