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Preparing For Surgery

Nothing else has worked, so doctors tell me that surgery is the only way to make the pain go away and let me enjoy a normal life again. So, what’s next? Here are some important things to consider when you are preparing for orthopedic surgery.

Pre-Admission Testing

The Center for Perioperative Medicine or pre-admission testing ensures that you have a positive experience from beginning to end.

You’ll go through pre-admission testing which means:

  • Medical evaluation
  • Lab work
  • Education about what to expect before and after surgery
  • Review of your medications including instructions on what to take or what to stop before surgery

Gaining physician approval for surgery

You’ll get approval for surgery from your cardiologist and primary doctor.

Patient Education

You will have a pre-op class for about two hours which is highly recommended by your surgeon whether you’re having knee or hip replacement.  In the class, we explain what you should expect before, during and after surgery including discharge planning.

Benefits of patient education include:

  • Getting information you may not have thought to ask about
  • Knowing what to expect and how to prepare in advance
  • Being able to ask questions that may not have occurred to you before
  • Being in class with others who will be having similar surgery,  so you realize you’re not alone 

Patient education is an important part of your overall experience. It often helps to reduce anxiety and even pain and research studies show that education leads to a better outcome.

We also have an interactive patient newsletter service that provides weekly information prior and after surgery, and offer a free joint class, every other week. Registration is handled by the Access center: 1-888-569-1000.

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Preparing your body for surgery

  • A month or so before surgery, you’ll begin a physician-supervised exercise program so you’ll be in the best possible shape.  Increasing upper body strength is important to help you use a walker, crutches or cane in early post-surgery days.
  • If you’re overweight, losing weight is important in ensuring your safety through your surgical experience and reduces stress on your back and joints.

Weight Loss Options available at AtlantiCare

AtlantiCare Lifecenter
AtlantiCare LifeCenter Fitness is southeastern New Jersey’s premier fitness center. Our two locations — in Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic City — offer a great combination of equipment options and amenities.
Learn More
Surgical Weight Loss
AtlantiCare’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss & Wellness is the most comprehensive program of its kind in southeastern New Jersey – with services geared toward helping patients every step of the way.
Learn More
  • Get any dental work done as bacteria can enter the body through your gums.  If necessary, have any extractions or periodontal work done before your surgery.
  • Whatever you do, stop smoking if you’re a smoker

Smoking Cessation Classes at AtlantiCare

Smoking Cessation Classes
Find our full schedule of FREE tobacco cessation classes here. Classes are available at two convenient times each month. Seating is limited, so please register early!
Register for Class


Your provider may advise you to stop taking some of your current medications which could interfere with surgery. 

  • Always make sure your providers are aware of all medications you take, including over-the-counter, vitamin supplements, minerals, etc.
  • Keep a list of everything you take on your computer so it can be printed out for each doctor
  • At your pre-operative medical evaluation, in the Center for Perioperative Medicine, You will be provided a list of medications you should take and those you should hold prior to your procedure.

Prepare your home

Since mobility will be a challenge, make sure your home is prepared for you when you get out of the hospital. 

  • Things you use daily should be within reach
  • Make your walkways clear and free of clutter.
  • Get rid of loose carpets or exposed electrical cords that could cause a fall
  • An ottoman or footstool is a comfort for helping you keep your operated limb straight out in front of you when sitting
  • Pockets, pockets, pockets.  Wear garments that have them for necessities – or carry a shoulder bag


Call your insurance company to verify what is covered and if you have any co-pays.

Packing for the hospital

What to bring with you

  • Basic toiletries (toothbrush, hair brush)
  • Eyeglasses (no contact lenses)
  • Dentures if you have any
  • Hearing aid
  • Your list of medications
  • Phone numbers that you call regularly
  • A book or magazine

What not to bring with you

  • Medications unless directed by your providers
  • Valuable jewelry
  • A large amount of cash
  • Credit cards
  • Wallet
  • Watch

For further questions or instructions, visit the Patient & Visitor section of the AtlantiCare web site, or ask your physician or nurse.

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