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Before your surgery

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Before your surgery
Information Specific to Post Operative Orthopaedic and Spine Surgery

You will receive written notification about the date and time of your surgery from your surgeon's office.  You will also receive information about medications you should stop taking prior to surgery, for instance, anything with an aspirin base which may thin your blood. 

Please go the site www.uclahealth.org/healthforms and click on SM UCLA & OH for "Important Information Regarding Your Surgery."  Please use the "Patient Checklist" and the "Admission Medication History" form.  If you have any questions, please contact us at orthospineinfo@mednet.ucla.edu.

If you are having a joint replacement, there is a very good chance you will need a unit or two of blood after surgery.  You may be asked to donate your own blood (autologous blood) or you may have blood donated for you (directed donor blood.)  Your own blood is the best.  There are sometimes when the directed donor blood is not a good match for you or you may need more blood than you have set aside for yourself.   We will offer you blood from our Blood Bank.  This blood has been tested and is safe.  You have the right to refuse a blood transfusion but not having a sufficient amount of blood is a stress on your heart and slows your recovery.  Please see the pamphlet "A Patient's Guide to Blood Transfusion."

You will be given a phone number to call the day before your surgery to confirm your surgery time and the time to start fasting for surgery.  Surgery is performed on an empty stomach to prevent complications like aspiration pneumonia, which can occur if stomach contents are regurgitated during sedation.   If your surgery is in the morning, you will begin fasting from midnight.  If your surgery is not scheduled until the afternoon, you may be given instructions to have a liquid breakfast the morning of surgery and then begin your fast. 

You will arrive at the Admissions Department on the first floor and be checked in.  Use the 15th Street entrance.   The Admissions clerk will ask you about your Advanced Directives.  If you have a copy, please bring it to the Admissions Department the day of surgery.  If you have any questions about the admission process, please contact us at orthospineinfo@mednet.ucla.edu.

When the Admissions process is complete, you will be taken to the Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU).  Your belongings can be stored in the ACU.  All belongings are delivered to the nursing unit around 7 pm, so you may want your family to take your personal items like glasses, dentures or hearing aides with them to return to you when you get to the nursing unit.  You will be given a plastic ID wristband that will have your name and medical record number on it.  Everyone who comes in contact with you in the hospital must check your name against your ID band.  You may ask hospital personnel to check your ID band.  Everyone who comes in contact with you must wash his or her hands.  If they do not, you may ask them to do so.  All personnel wear gloves when caring for patients.

Please see "Hospital Parking" at the site www.uclahealthcare.org/healthforms and click on SM UCLA & OH for "Important Information Regarding Your Surgery."

In the ACU, you will meet your Anesthisologist and your pre op nurse.   They will ask you about the medications you take and about your allergies.  Your IV (intravenous) will be started.   You will have your IV for about 3 to 4 days although it may not always have fluid flowing through it.

Because of space limitations, only one person can accompany you to the ACU.  Others may wait in the Surgical Waiting Area near the 15th Street Entrance on the first Floor of the Tower.   The surgeon meets with the family in this area after surgery. 

We can provide you with most everything you need after surgery:  toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, soap, shaving cream, razor, towels, gowns, another gown which can be your robe, slippers, Kleenex, comb, phone, TV, LA Times, food and drink.  It is not necessary to bring money or a credit card unless you will be purchasing your discharge medications from a local Santa Monica pharmacy.   If you bring any valuables, we will secure them for you with the cashier until after surgery.

We are required by law to dispense all medications to you to prevent any errors. Although we prefer that you NOT bring your medications to the hospital, if you are asked to do so, please bring that medication in the labeled pharmacy bottle.  Place the bottle in a sealed plastic bag.  When you arrive on the nursing unit, the nurse will collect this from you.  We are not allowed to leave medications at the bedside.

Your anesthesiologist will ask you questions about your general health, your medications, your allergies, your past surgical history including your reactions to anesthesia, and will inform you which of your medications you should take on the day of surgery.  This is a good time to ask your Anesthesiologist any questions you may have or share any information that that hasn't been asked and you feel is important.

Just before you go into the surgical suite, your anesthesiologist will give you sedation through your IV.

If you have any questions about this portion of the website, please contact us at orthospineinfo@mednet.ucla.edu.