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Surgery Preparation

Every Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery physician is dedicated to including you in your healthcare experience. If surgery is recommended, your physician and their team will communicate with you throughout every stage of the process. 


24-48 Hours Before Surgery

The day before your surgery, your physician will schedule a final follow-up appointment to discuss medications and pre-operative instructions as well as fit you for any medical equipment you may need during your recovery and answer any final questions you may have. Some topics this appointment will cover include:


  • Final instructions on eating and drinking

  • Bathing instructions and soap to use 2-3 days before surgery

  • Tips for prepping your house for your recovery

  • Medications to stop

  • Check-in procedures


Note: The team's surgery scheduler will contact you 24 hours before your surgery with check-in information. 


In the days before your surgery, we recommend the following:


  • Thinking in advance about how to make your life easier during your recovery. Do you need to rearrange the furniture in your house? Do you have meals prepped? Is your favorite book close at hand? Do you have a Netflix watchlist queued up?

  • Setting up any necessary medical equipment, such as your ice machine. 

  • Installing any adaptive equipment needed in the bathroom, such as a raised toilet set, hand-held shower head, tub bench, and grab bars.

  • Arrange for your post-operative medications to be picked up the day before your surgery.


Finally, please ensure someone over the age of 18 that is personally known to you (i.e., not an Uber or Lyft driver) is available to drive you to and from surgery.

What to Bring With You

On the day of your surgery, please arrive at your check-in time and location 15 minutes early with the following items:


  • Photo identification

  • Insurance card

  • Medical equipment associated with surgery (walker, crutches, etc.)


We also recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing you can easily change into after your surgery.

0-8 Hours Before Surgery


It is normal to feel anxious on the day of your surgery, but the team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery will be with you every step of the way. Follow the day-of-surgery preparation instructions below, and we'll handle the rest!


  1. Do not eat anything 8 hours before your surgery

  2. Stop consuming water and other clear liquids 3 hours before your surgery

  3. Do not drink coffee on the morning of your surgery

  4. Bathe the morning of your surgery using the soap your doctor provided

  5. After bathing, DO NOT apply any makeup, perfumes, lotions, hair products, or deodorant 

  6. Remove all body piercings and jewelry

  7. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting closes and shoes


At the surgery center, a receptionist will check you in and escort you to your pre-op room, where you will change into your hospital gown. Storage will be provided for personal items like clothing and glasses, but we recommend leaving all valuables at home. 


Your doctor and their team as well as your anesthesiologist will meet with you before your procedure to answer any final questions, review your medical history one last time, and address any lingering concerns. 

Immediately After Surgery

After your surgery, you will be moved to your post-op suite for recovery. Your doctor will call any personal representatives (family or friends you've given permission for the doctor to share protected health information with) and tell them how the procedure went. They will be allowed to join you in your recovery room after the effects of anesthesia wear off.


Once you are awake, you will be given fluids and a snack. A nurse will explain your pain management strategy to you. You will already be fitted in any required braces, slings, or casts, but a physical therapist will meet with you to ensure you know how to use any additional adaptive equipment (i.e., walker or crutches) correctly. You must be able to demonstrate proper use of this equipment in order to be released from the surgery center.


After your surgeon, physical therapist, and post-op nurse clear you for release, you will be given a physical therapy prescription and sent home to continue your recovery.


1-3 Days After Surgery

In the days immediately after your recovery, it's essential to:


  • Keep your incision site covered and dry

  • Stay on top of your pain; use your medication and pain pump as prescribed

  • Ice and elevate your operative site

  • Contact your physician if you notice ANY signs of infection

  • Set up your physical therapy sessions


Your doctor will call to check in on your progress, but don't hesitate to reach out to the team if you have any issues with your medical equipment or if your bandages become soiled or loose.  


The doctor and his team will schedule your first follow-up appointment a week after surgery. Standard follow-ups with your physician will occur every few weeks during your first few months post-op and then, later in your recovery, every six months to review your progress and adjust your treatment as needed.

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