About Your Surgery

About Your Surgery FAQs

  1. How can I schedule my surgery?
  2. What do I need to bring with me for surgery?
  3. What do I need to do prior to surgery?
  4. Should I stop taking my medicines prior to surgery? How about vitamins and food supplements?
  5. What activities can I do after surgery?  
  6. Will my medications affect the surgery? How about vitamins and food supplements?
  7. How do I schedule my preoperative laboratory studies or imaging studies?
  8. When will my surgery be and when will I need to be there?

Prior to Surgery: What to Expect?  

How do I schedule my surgery?

You may schedule your surgery by contacting the office during your visit for by calling (724)933-3300 and speaking to her.  If Dr. Bowman has spoken to you about surgery during your visit and has fully explained the surgery, the postoperative regimen, risks and benefits, the office staff will start the process of scheduling your surgery.  This includes obtaining medical clearance, obtaining the necessary preoperative tests, coordinating care with your other physicians and obtaining any necessary surgical equipment.  The office staff will then be able to give you a date for your surgery.

What do I need to do prior to surgery?

You will need to have a preoperative History and Physical (H&P) by your family physician/PCP prior to surgery. Please allow plenty of time to get an appointment with your PCP and allow time for them to complete your H&P and send it in. In certain cases we may be able to have it done the morning of surgery. Lindsey will advise you. For certain medical conditions, such as severe heart disease, diabetes or bleeding disorders, you may need medical clearance from one or more physicians before surgery can be scheduled. Anesthesia will not be able to administer your anesthesia without your medical clearance/H&P and your surgery may have to be rescheduled!

What laboratory studies or tests do I need prior to my surgery? 

Depending on your age and general health status you will be required to get certain standard preoperative tests such as a CBC (complete blood count), EKG, chest x-ray or other blood work.  These are required by anesthesia in the hospital in order to proceed with your surgery. Lindsey will give you a written list of the required studies.  Dr. Bowman may also request imaging studies such as a CT scan or MRI prior to the surgery.  Our office will assist you in arranging all of these studies. You are responsible for getting the studies completed, having the results sent to our office 3 days prior to surgery and bringing in the imaging studies with you to the surgery.  Failure to receive all of the required information prior surgery may result in your having to reschedule your surgery.

When can I eat prior to surgery?

In order to avoid complications from anesthesia such as aspiration, most patients are instructed to remain n.p.o. (nothing by mouth) after midnight on the night prior to surgery.  This means refraining from eating or drinking any fluids.  No gum or candy. If you brush your teeth in the morning, do not swallow any of the fluid. Any allowable modifications in these instructions will be given directly to you by the hospital or surgery center. Do not drink alcohol or smoke for 24 hours before surgery. Failure to follow these instructions may result in canceling and rescheduling your surgery by anesthesia.

Should I stop taking my medicines prior to surgery? How about vitamins and food supplements?Will my medications affect the surgery? How about vitamins and food supplements?

It is very important that you give us a complete list of all your medications and doses prior to surgery, including the vitamins, over-the-counter medicines or herbal supplements.  Some medicines, such as blood thinners like Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox or supplements like vitamin E and Fish oil or Chondroitin sulfate may cause increased bleeding after surgery and will need to be stopped 7 to 10 days prior to surgery or modified in cooperation with your other physicians. Some medications still need to be given on the morning prior to surgery and may be taken with a small sip of water. Lindsey or anesthesia will review these with you.  Some medicines such as prednisone, methotrexate or Embrel inhibit wound healing and need to be stopped prior to surgery if possible.  Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, aspirin, Aleve, Celebrex and Chondroitin sulfate may cause increased bleeding during and after surgery or inhibit bone formation after surgery and result in decreased healing of fractures or fusion surgeries.  These will be discontinued prior to surgery. You may take plain Tylenol prior to surgery in approved doses up to midnight prior to surgery. To see a bigger list of medications and supplements that may cause problems for your surgery please go to Medications to Avoid Prior to Surgery. Notify Lindsey if you are taking any of the listed medicines or supplements prior to surgery.

What do I need to bring with me to surgery?

If you are having any type of anesthesia other than straight local anesthesia, you will need to bring another person with you to drive home.  Please bring comfortable loose fitting clothing. Bring your insurance card for the hospital, any imaging studies, such as CT scan, MRIs or x-rays requested by Dr. Bowman. If you have been given a boot for foot surgery, please bring it along with crutches, walker or wheelchair necessary for you to ambulate.

Where will my surgery be?

Dr. Bowman operates at the Western PA Surgery Center in Wexford, UPMC Cranberry Surgery Center and Alle-Kiski Medical Center in Natrona Heights. In most cases outpatient surgeries may be scheduled at any of the above sites. Surgeries requiring overnight stay are scheduled at either UPMC Cranberry or Alle- Kiski. For your convenience, usually your choice of site can be accommodated. Occasionally there are restrictions imposed by your insurance plan, special required surgical equipment, your desired timeframe or urgency dictated by your medical problems.  Lindsey will review the options with you.

When will my surgery be and when will I need to be there? 

The hospital or surgery center will call you the business day before your surgery with your surgery time, preoperative instructions and what time you are to arrive at the hospital or surgery center.

At Surgery: What to Expect?

Upon arrival the OR staff will check you in, review your health records, medications and allergies. They will review if you have been n.p.o. after midnight and ask you several times to confirm the surgical site (right or left, arm or leg). You will change into OR clothing and they will take your vital signs. An Intravenous line (IV) will be started and you may be given some preoperative medicines. In most cases you will receive preoperative antibiotics. You will be asked to sign the consent for your surgery.

The anesthesiologist and certified registered nurse anesthetist will speak to you and review the anesthesia options for your surgery. They will discuss the risks and benefits of each method with you. You will then be asked to sign your consent for anesthesia.  After the choice is made, you may be given a block in order to numb the surgical area.

Dr. Bowman or Lindsey will sign your consent form, autograph the surgical site and review any last minute questions. After all of the preparations you will then be taken to the operating room.  You may not remember this because of the effects of the anesthesia medicine.

After Surgery-What to Expect?  

What activities can I do after surgery?  

After your surgery you will be taken to the recovery room where the recovery room personnel will take excellent care of you.  Your vital signs will be monitored to make sure that you are recovering well.  The surgical arm or leg will be elevated. You will be given pain medicine if there is any postoperative pain as well as medication for any nausea.  This is minimized with the use of modern anesthesia.  After the effects of anesthesia have worn off, you will be discharged with a list of postoperative instructions and appropriate prescriptions.  These will usually include a prescription for pain medicine and antibiotics.  There may be a prescription for physical therapy or occupational therapy.

If you have not done so prior to surgery, please call the office at 724-933-3300 to schedule your postoperative appointment. This is usually at two weeks postop. At that time we will remove any sutures if the wound is appropriately healed.

In most cases the key advice to remaining comfortable after surgery is elevation, elevation and elevation! Keep your hand elevated with your fingers towards the ceiling or keep your leg elevated with the foot higher than the knee.  This will reduce swelling and really help diminish discomfort.  Take your pain medication as needed and as prescribed.  Take your postoperative antibiotics in order to reduce the possibility of infection.

We will discuss prior to surgery and afterwards when you can resume certain medications such as anti-inflammatories or blood thinners after surgery. Restrictions of hand or foot usage will also be discussed both prior and after surgery. The need for immediate postop occupational therapy or physical therapy may be decided at surgery. You will be instructed afterward.

Call the office at 724-933-3300 if you are having a problem.  This includes things such as severe pain, excessive or unusual bleeding, fever or chills, or severe discoloration of your hand or foot.