Preparing For Surgery

Once you have scheduled your surgery, preparing yourself physically and mentally are important for a healthy recovery.Here are a few steps to help you get ready for your surgery.

Preoperative Education Classes

Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides classes to assist patients and families in preparing for surgery. These classes are designed to provide information on the surgery, the postoperative course and rehabilitation after knee surgery.During class, the surgical procedure will be discussed, you will have the opportunity to see an example of a prosthesis and ask questions about your surgery and hospital stay.You are strongly urged to attend class.

These classes can be booked by calling The Joint Center at 617-243-5155. Check with your surgeon's office for more information.

Surgery Pre-Registration and Pre-Surgical Assessment

Before you come to the Hospital for surgery, you must complete your pre-registration. Please complete your registration by phone at 617-243-6122 or when you arrive at the Hospital the day of your surgery. The most convenient option for you is to complete your pre-registration before you arrive at the Hospital for your procedure.

Insurance Co-Payments

Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may be responsible for a co-pay for your surgical procedure.The amount will vary depending on your insurance provider. A Newton-Wellesley Hospital staff member from the Admitting Department will be contacting you to determine the best way to take care of your co-payment.

Pre-Admission Visit

Once your surgery has been scheduled, your surgeon's office will arrange a pre-admission screening appointment. This visit will be scheduled as many as four weeks before your surgery. This is a separate appointment from your visit with your surgeon or PCP. During your appointment, you will meet staff from different departments including Anesthesia, Nursing and Physical Therapy. The purpose of this visit is to make sure you are fully prepared for your surgery.

The average pre-admission visit is about two to three hours long. Please call to pre-register for this appointment at 617-243-6122. Please eat before this visit and take your regular medications.

On the day of your pre-admission visit, be sure to bring the following information:

  • Questions you have about your surgery. 
  • A list of your allergies. 
  • A list of medications and dosages you take on a regular basis, including vitamins, herbs and other over-the-counter medications.
  • Results of any recent tests at other hospitals.
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of all your doctors, including specialists.
  • Any previous problems or reactions to anesthesia.

The nurse will:

  • Confirm your surgical procedure.
  • Conduct a nursing assessment, which includes past medical conditions, previous hospitalizations and a complete list of medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter and any dietary supplements.
  • Confirm any allergies you have to drugs, food or latex.
  • Let you know if any medications need to be stopped before surgery (see medication list in this Section).
  • Review arrival time for the day of surgery.
  • Give you special soap to wash the area the day before surgery.

You will also have any testing your physician has ordered. This may include lab tests, an EKG and a chest X-ray. In some situations, patients are advised by their physician to have their own blood available prior to surgery. If so, this may require separate appointments at the Blood Bank.

The physical therapist will:

  • Conduct a brief physical exam including range of motion, strength measurements and mobility assessment.
  • Ask you about the physical set up of your home (levels, stairs, railings, tub, shower, etc.).
  • Ask you who will be with you when you return home and to what extent they may be able to offer minimal assistance if needed.
  • Demonstrate and review an illustrated group of exercises that you should do from the day of your pre-admission visit until your surgery.
  • Go over a home safety checklist written by your occupational therapy team, which will provide tips for preparing your home.
  • Give you an overview of what kind of rehabilitation schedule to expect after surgery and until your discharge.
  • Answer any questions you may have about your rehabilitation.


An anesthesia nurse practitioner or anesthesiologist will evaluate your medical and surgical history.The clinician will then explain the anesthesia and pain control options available to you. Be sure to tell them about any pain medicines that have worked or not worked for you in the past.

Informed Consent

Before surgery you will be asked to sign consent forms. You have the right to understand your health problem and treatment options in words you can understand.Your doctor should also tell you about the risks and benefits of each treatment. Please feel free to ask questions.

Preparing Yourself Physically

Here are some tips that will help you focus on a smooth recovery.

  • Stay as active as possible.
  • Continue your normal activity and exercise programs.
  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, try to stop or cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke every day. Smoking can cause complications with the anesthesia you receive for your surgery. Stopping even for a short time can be helpful. For help, you may contact the Quit Smoking Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital 617-732-8983 or Massachusetts General Hospital 617-726-7443. For further information, contact 1-800-TRY-TO-STOP or visit
  • Watch your weight. Your doctor may ask you to lose weight before surgery. This will lessen the stress on your new joint. You may want to contact a dietitian for help losing weight or maintaining a lower weight after surgery. Resources are available by contacting our Nutrition Department.
  • Discuss the need for a routine dental exam prior to surgery with your surgeon. Any tooth or gum problems may need to be treated.
  • If you have a fever, flu symptoms or other medical issues, please contact your surgeon's office.

Preparing Yourself Mentally

Having surgery can be stressful. Learn as much as you can about the surgery.Share this information with family members and friends who will be involved in helping you with recovery.Don’t hesitate to ask for help from others during your recovery.

Case Management

You will receive a phone call from a case manager about a week prior to your scheduled surgery. At this time, she will discuss options for discharge after your hospital stay. Many patients are able to return directly home after hospitalization and receive services from a home-care agency. However, some patients will need additional time in an extended-care facility to achieve their goals. Your eligibility for care in an extended-care facility and/or home-care services is determined by a number of factors including physical need and insurance coverage. Your insurance company must authorize any services. Your health care team will work with you to make the decision that is right for you.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your post-rehabilitation options, please call the Department of Health Care Quality at 617-243-6695

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