What Your Orthopedic Pre-Op Nurse Needs to Know

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Published:  November 2, 2015

Are you preparing for an upcoming orthopedic surgery?

Think of your pre-op appointment as a time for collecting “puzzle pieces” of information. When the pre-op is complete, your physician and nurse will have a complete and accurate picture of your health and history.

Your pre-op nurse is going to cover 5 general categories. Consider these categories  before your appointment and make notes as needed. This will help ensure you relay all necessary information to your nurse during your appointment.


Please bring all medications in the original bottles including prescribed meds, over the counter meds, and herbal medications. The pre-op nurse will document the medication name, dosage, and frequency of which it is taken.

Over the Counter Medications / Herbs

Many people do not think these mediations are important, but they may cause potential complications during surgery.  Some medications such as Goody’s Powder, aspirin, vitamins, or fish oils can cause your blood to be too thin. Herbal supplements are often made up of several different herbs, which can interfere with medications used in surgery. Therefore, it is extremely important that you let your pre-op nurse know if you are taking any supplements or non-prescription medicine.

Past Medical History

The pre-op nurse will collect information about your medical and family history.  This information will help determine if pre-op clearance is needed from your primary physician, pulmonologist, or cardiologist.

Previous Surgeries

You will be asked about your surgery history to determine if you are a good candidate for the proposed surgery. This information can help reduce the risk of potential problems. For example, if you have had an implant from a previous surgery it may determine placement of monitoring equipment.

Difficulties with Recovery

Every effort is made to prevent difficulties during recovery. Medication is often provided before and/or after surgery to make you as comfortable as possible.  During your pre-op appointment, you will be asked about your past recovery experiences. Please be as detailed as possible. This information will help your post-op team ensure you recover safely and as comfortably as possible.

Before your pre-op appointment, please think about your upcoming surgery, and what type of care you will need after surgey. What questions or concerns do you have? Write them down, and bring the list with you to your pre-op appointment. Your nurse and your physician will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.