What the surgeon needs to know

It’s important to prepare for your initial appointment with your orthopaedic surgeon to discuss your treatment options.  Preparing for your appointment will help you make the most of the time available.

If you have a number of different health problems, you will need to coordinate the information about your care.  Once you’ve determined whether or not you require surgery, your surgeon may need to be in touch with each of your doctors regarding your other conditions.

Your surgeon will also need to know all of the medications, prescription and over-the-counter, that you take.  You may find it helpful to compile all of your medical information, including alternative or complementary therapies, in one place so that you can easily share it with your surgeon.  Write down the names and contact numbers for all of your doctors, a list of medications you take and the condition for which they were prescribed, the dose and how often.  It may also be helpful to include information about any allergies you have and your health insurance.

The orthopaedic surgeon will also want to know about your pain and how you are managing it.  You may find it helpful to make notes about the following:

  • Recent changes you have noticed in your pain or mobility.
  • How long the pain in your joint or joints has lasted?
  • Specific description of the pain.
  • What motions or activities seem to trigger or worsen the pain?
  • What time of day the pain is at its worst?
  • What makes your pain better?
  • What are your functional limitations or the effect on your quality of life?
  • Don’t forget to bring all (recent and old) x-rays, CT scan or MRI results to your appointment.
  • For your comfort, you may wish to wear shorts for the affected joints physical exam.

Here’s a form you can use to help you compile the information your surgeon will need.