February 1, 2022
Having surgery soon? Here is what to expect throughout the process. We will discuss surgery prep, during surgery, and your recovery afterwards. Click here for our guide and more details for further information on Dr. Miller’s recovery process.
Preparing for the Surgery
In preparation for the operating room (OR), you will meet with Dr. Miller and go over the risks and benefits of your procedure and exactly what to expect. Patients can ask questions. Next you will go over consent forms and other paperwork needed to prepare you for the surgery. This includes any medical clearance needed from your primary doctor or other specialists. Sometimes lab work or an electrocardiogram (EKG) is needed based on medical history. Safety after the procedure is important; we help you prepare to go home after surgery including assist devices. All these measures are to ensure safety of the patients in the OR and ensure they can tolerate the recovery period. Dr. Miller’s team will then work with you to set up a time, date, and place to perform the surgery.
Day of the OR
The day of the OR will start the night before your surgery. You are not supposed to eat or drink after midnight. Medication you traditionally take is okay with small sips of water. A key to infection prevention starts with cleanliness. If the patient is not in a splint for injury or trauma, they can do a preoperative prep with chlorohexidine scrub and wash to make sure any potential infection is limited. The patient will come to the surgery location usually a couple of hours before which allows the team to check you in, start an IV, meet the anesthesia team and see Dr. Miller. The anesthesiologist will administer any local anesthesia such as a nerve block that needs to be performed for post-operative pain control. Finally, the patient will be wheeled back into the operation room and the surgery will begin by Dr. Miller and his team.
After surgery is complete the patient will wake up in the post-operative recovery unit with a wrap or splint on the area of surgery. The way the leg is positioned is to be kept for protection. Commonly, patients will have instructions to be non-weight bearing until they are seen back into the office. The patient is seen typically within 10-14 days (about 2 weeks). Further instructions will be given for pain control and medication. Medication includes a form of pain medicine, supplements, potentially a blood thinner, and any other medication Dr. Adam Miller would consider necessary towards the patient’s recovery.
Typically, you can be discharged to home from the surgical location. Sometimes a patient may be unsafe at home and admission is called for. Once discharged from surgery, one must use the various assist devices and recommendations to safely navigate around their home. Sometimes before surgery we may send the patient to a therapy session to ensure they are able to protect their leg and practice non-weightbearing. At this therapy visit, the therapist discusses home routine and safe mobility. Some patients are instructed to be heel weight bearing depending on the type of surgery that they have. These instructions would be provided in their information along with the correct mode of transportation around the home as well.
After the OR
Reading over instructions is crucial to ensure what you need to know. 95% of the questions you may be wanting to know are going to be in those instructions. Typically, the biggest 3 things to remember are:
- Keeping the area dry
- Keeping your leg elevated to your heart level.
These three things ensure that the surgery and the outcome is kept, and your risk of infection is low. Patients can expect any nerve block administered for pain relief to wear off day 1 or 2 of recovery. Typically, this will come with an increase in pain. The patient may expect to take some of the medication that was supplied for pain relief. They can expect that the worst pain is typically experienced during days 2-3-4 after surgery. Commonly, the patient is to keep the elevation and no weight bearing throughout the first post-operative period. Remember, the more you sit up the higher the leg should go up to maintain elevation at heart level.
Your post-operative appointment is within 10-14 days (about 2 weeks) for your checkup. You will meet with Dr. Miller or his Physician Assistant Kelsey Draper who will take off all the dressings, remove any sutures as applicable, and place you in the next immobilization device. More instructions will be provided with the next steps such as duration of non-weight bearing, physical therapy instructions, what types of home therapy and exercises can be performed, how much further elevation and rest needs to be completed and when you can go back to work. Typically, patients after surgery are off work until they are seen in clinic to ensure that the wound heals appropriately. Kids can typically go back to school a week after surgery if they can elevate their leg in class.
If any other questions, click on our Therapy guide to foot and ankle surgery and recovery. This guide goes into more detail with any other questions and concerns you may have. If someone you know is needing foot and ankle care Dr. Miller is Beacon Orthopedics foot and ankle specialist and is available at several locations around the Cincinnati area. Contact us today for more information! Click here to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Miller for foot and ankle injuries.