Frequently Asked Questions //
Will I need to quit smoking prior to surgery?
If you are a smoker, it is best to take a break from smoking starting 6 weeks prior to your surgery and to remain tobacco free for at least 6 weeks following your surgery. Dip, Chew, and Vapor that contain nicotine should be avoided as well to optimize your success post-operatively.
How can I reduce swelling after the surgery?
There are numerous methods to help you reduce swelling after your surgery including:
Using pillows to elevate your affected limb at or above heart level.
Ankle pump exercises (moving your foot up and down).
Continuous use of compression hose stockings.
Cold compression therapy/ ice machines.
Should I use ice or the ice machine and how often?
Icing is an important part to reducing swelling and pain after your surgery. We recommend icing 5-6 times daily for 20-30 minutes sessions for 2-4 weeks post-operatively. When icing, we recommend 30 min -1 hour breaks between icing sessions and wearing a protective layer between your skin and the ice machine.
Will I need to change dressings at home and how often?
For the first 2 weeks, change the dressing at least every other day or if they become wet/soiled.
Do not touch, remove or apply ointment to the steri-strips (tape) that are over the skin incisions. Steri-strips are to remain on the incision sites for 2 weeks. If they fall off before then on their own that’s fine.
At each dressing change, evaluate the incision sites for any purulent drainage (pus), excessive redness, increased warmth or pain. These signs may indicate an infection. Contact a team member immediately if these symptoms occur.
When are sutures (stitches) removed?
We sometimes uses dissolvable stiches that require no special care because the sutures are underneath your skin and will dissolve on their own. If you do have an incision, extra suture material may be on the outside of the skin. These will need to be cut at 2-3 weeks post-operatively which can be done in our office during your follow up visit or at home by a family member/friend.
Can I bathe/shower or get my incision wet and when?
In order to reduce the risk of infection, it is crucial that you maintain a dry environment for your incisions for the first 2 weeks. Please use a plastic bag over the area secured with tape or rubber bands for 2 weeks until you have your incisions evaluated by a medical provider. After two weeks, patients may get the incision site briefly wet in the shower but are still advised to avoid soaking in a pool, hot tub or bath for up to a month after the surgical procedure.
What is the reason for taking a blood thinner and for how long?
Any orthopedic surgery is a risk factor for developing a blood clot, also known as a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). In order to decrease the chance of a blood clot, patients may be placed on a medication after surgery depending on risk factors. The type of medication you may be placed on will be discussed during your pre-operative visit.
Are there signs of a blood clot and what measures should I take if suspect one?
Signs of a blood clot include the following:
Severe calf/leg swelling or diffuse redness.
Severe calf pain with moving foot up/down or when squeezing the calf.
If these symptoms arise, please contact our office immediately. We will need to order an ultrasound of your leg to check for a blood clot. *If you develop chest pain or difficulty breathing, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
What are signs of an infection and what is the protocol if I suspect one?
While infection is not common, there is always a risk with any type of surgery. Contact our office immediately if you develop the following signs:
Fever of 101.5 degrees F or higher
Purulent drainage (pus), excessive redness or swelling around the incision site(s).
What if I need a refill on a medication?
If you require a refill on a medications we prescribed you, please contact our office during business hours. Some medications as required by federal law, cannot be called in. They require a written prescription that needs to be picked up from our office and taken to your pharmacy. If you are not within driving distance, we recommend you see your primary care provider or an urgent care clinic for further evaluation.
*We are devoted to the national effort in decreasing the opioid addiction epidemic. We abide by strict guidelines provided by the CDC.
May I take anti-inflammatory medicines after the surgery?
Unless otherwise directed by Dr. Cox, all patients are to avoid anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs – such as ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) after surgery as these delay bone healing and interfere with ligament graft healing.
How much weight can I bear on my leg after surgery?
Weight bearing status is dependent on both the type of surgery and anesthesia you undergo. We will discuss your weight bearing limitations during your pre-operative visit and again after your surgery. The physical therapists will also help instruct you on the proper use of your crutches if needed.
How shall I obtain braces/crutches and for how long am I supposed to wear my brace/knee immobilizer?
Details regarding the duration you are to wear your brace will be discussed during your pre-operative visit as well as along your recovery process during post-operative clinical visits. Any required post-operative braces or crutches will be fitted and provided the day of your surgery. If you have any issues with your brace/crutches, we have a team that will help you with any adjustments you may need upon your next clinical visit with us.
How soon can I start physical therapy?
Physical therapy is often started the day after surgery. At this time, your physical therapist will schedule you with 3-5 sessions per week with specific exercises for you to perform daily at home. Your physical therapy protocol will detail what specific activities you can perform at different time frames during your rehab. Follow these instructions carefully and DO NOT ADVANCE or let your Physical Therapist advance your protocol beyond the normal time frames unless directed so by Dr. Cox.
How may I obtain a handicap parking pass?
Patients are eligible for temporary handicap parking passes based on the type of surgery they undergo. If you are in need of a handicap parking pass and are eligible, we will provide you with an application that will need to be completed and sent by you to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
What is your phone policy?
You will be provided with direct contacts for the providers on Dr. Cox’s team to answer any concerns or questions. Our office hours are Monday – Friday 8 am to 5 pm.