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What To Do If Your Orthopedic Surgery Is Postponed

There are many reasons why your orthopedic surgery may be postponed. From scheduling conflicts (emergencies) to health problems (COVID, poor results from pre-op testing), the initial date of your surgical procedure is not always set in stone. It can be disappointing for a patient to have a surgery delay for a procedure that plans to relieve them of the pain that they may have been living with for years.

Date circled on calendar in red as plans are made for upcoming orthopedic surgery with Premier Orthopaedic and Trauma Specialists, but could surgery be postponed?

Although you cannot always control the circumstances of a surgical delay, there are some things that you can do in the meantime while waiting for your new date.

What to Do While Waiting

Depending on what kind of orthopedic surgery you are preparing for, there are things you can do in the time leading up to your surgery to alleviate your pain and/or prepare for the procedure.

If you are waiting on a surgery that impacts your mobility such as knee, hip, or ankle, you may consider using assistive devices such as a walker, cane, or crutches to make moving around easier and less painful if you haven’t done so already. Try to refrain from participating in activities that cause you more pain. A rule of thumb is if it hurts more, then don’t do it.

To deal with the pain, you can apply heat or cold compresses to reduce swelling and provide relief. Take over the counter, non-narcotic pain relievers such as ibuprofen to help with pain or swelling as needed (but only with your surgeon’s advice). There are also topical pain relief creams that you can apply on the surface of the skin around the affected area to help relieve the pain.

Plan and Communicate

You can take the extra time you have until your surgery to plan out your aftercare. Who is picking you up from the hospital? Where are you going to receive physical therapy? How will you modify your daily routine during the recovery process? These are all questions you can find answers to while you wait.

It is also important to keep in touch with your doctor. They are here to answer any questions you may have leading up to surgery. Technology makes it easy now to communicate whether that be through a phone call, telehealth visit, or your patient portal. Do not be afraid to use them as a resource.

Get Healthier

If an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease is part of the concern for surgery, you can take this time to speak to your orthopedic surgeon and/or primary care physician about ways to improve your health. This will include improving your diet and exercise, reducing stress and stopping smoking. One of the biggest barriers to surgery is diabetes, often caused by excess weight or obesity. Therefore, taking this time to improve your health may not only lower the risk of surgery, but also improve long-term results.

The Bottom Line

It can be discouraging to have a surgery postponed, but there are things you can do in the meantime to alleviate pain and better prepare for your procedure. If you would like to talk to an experienced orthopedic surgeon about your condition, schedule an appointment with us today. Premier Ortho is an orthopedic practice located in Pomona, California that is committed to delivering evidence-based, compassionate care to all our patients.