Orthopedic Myths and Frequently Asked Questions

“I can eat breakfast since my surgery isn’t until this afternoon.” Do I really have to skip breakfast before surgery?

Our policy is that you are unable to eat after midnight the night before your surgery with us. We have this policy to protect you, as the patient, from aspiration during surgery. In addition, if we needed to move you up in the schedule, due to a cancelation or simply running ahead of time, it is important that you have not ate or drank anything since midnight.

Patient safety is of utmost importance to us; therefore, we don’t ask you to skip breakfast just for fun, it is vital to follow these instructions to help ensure you have the best possible outcome.

“I always drink coffee in the morning, one cup won’t hurt me.” Can I drink coffee before surgery?

No! You cannot drink coffee before surgery. Due to the increased risks associated with eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before surgery, we ask that you refrain from your morning cup of joe too. No eating or drinking includes no water, no coffee, no gum, no candy, no breath mints, nothing at all. Kind of like a Gremlin, don’t feed after midnight. ?

“I had my wisdom teeth out and drove myself home, I’ll be fine to drive after this surgery.” Can I drive after surgery?

You will not be able to drive home after surgery, any will need to have someone to transport you home. Due to the anesthesia, you won’t be able to drive for at least 24 hours. If you are taking any narcotic pain medication and depending on what type of surgery you have it may be even longer before you are able to drive. It is always best to check with your orthopedic surgeon or one of our RN’s on when you are able to drive again.

When can I fill my pain medication?

You will be able to fill your post-op pain medication prescription after surgery. We will send you home with a hard copy of the prescription that you can then take to a pharmacy of your choice. If you use a local pharmacy, your family member can be given the prescriptions and while you are in surgery they can take them to your pharmacy and get the prescriptions filled. If you have any concerns regarding your pain medication, be sure to discuss this with you surgeon or one of our RN’s.

“My surgery is 2 weeks away, what time do I need to check in?”

Due to any schedule changes and emergent add on cases, we don’t set our surgery schedule until the day prior to surgery. Our surgery scheduler will call you the afternoon prior to surgery. If your surgery falls on a Monday then we will call you on the Friday prior to surgery. When we call you, we will let you know what time to check in on the day of surgery. This is not your actual surgery time, rather it is just an arrival time. This will give you time to get checked in and fill out any paperwork you may have.

Learn more about our orthopedic ambulatory surgery center (ASC) available for our Centralia and Olympia patients