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How to Prepare for Your First Visit with an Orthopedic Surgeon

Your physician referred you to Puget Sound Orthopaedics for a visit with an orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist or sports medicine doctor. Before agreeing to a treatment plan, you’re sure to have a lot of questions about the goals of treatment, how procedures will be done, possible complications, and your recovery plan.

A Bit About Our Approach at Puget Sound Orthopaedics

Improving your musculoskeletal health through comprehensive care and expert, individualized attention is the core of our mission at Puget Sound Orthopaedics. That means that if the time has come for you to consider joint replacement, shoulder reconstruction, back and spinal care, or hand, foot or ankle treatment, we are here to work with you to find the best solutions to improve your quality of life.

While the majority of doctors do perform surgeries, they are also proponents of alternative solutions like physical therapy, wearable treatments like casts and braces, and injectable medications. Because our approach to care is highly individualized, your doctor will review all of your options with you during your care process at Puget Sound Orthopaedics.

Important Questions to Ask During Your Orthopedic Visit

Did you know that studies have shown that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes? It makes sense. After all, the more information you have about your health care, the better equipped you are to make decisions that are best for you.

With that in mind, we encourage you to come to your initial surgical consultation with a list of questions to ask your doctor. Here are a few to help get you started:

  1. What is the procedure called and how is it done?
  2. What are the benefits and risks of this procedure/surgery?
  3. Why is this type of surgery my best option? What percentage of patients improve following the procedure?
  4. Will I need an implant or prosthesis? If so, how long will it last?
  5. How likely are there to be complications? If so, what could they be and can I prevent them from occurring?
  6. Will I have full mobility and be pain free after my recovery?
  7. Will I need more than one surgery to solve the problem?
  8. Are there any other tests before surgery?
  9. What are my other medical options? Are there any other non-surgical options?
  10. Will anything happen if I don’t have the surgery now?
  11. What kind of anesthesia will be used? Are there possible after effects or risks?
  12. Will I have pain following the procedure? How will my pain be managed?
  13. How long will the recovery take? What limitations will I have? Will I need assistance at home afterwards? For how long?
  14. Will I need physical therapy?
  15. Do you have any additional materials about my condition and my options that I can review on my own time?

Remember, if there’s ever anything you don’t understand please let us know. In fact, many of our patients bring a family member or friend to appointments for moral support, and to be a second set of ears.


What Information to Bring to Your Surgical Evaluation Visit  

Your first visit is a great fact-finding opportunity to learn more about your condition and to evaluate your options. We welcome your questions but we’ll also have some questions of our own. With that in mind, please have the following information ready for your doctor:

Your medical history and that of your family. That includes any past surgeries or major illnesses you’ve had and if any diseases or medical conditions run in your family.

  1. A list of all the medications you take — and we mean all. That includes not only prescription drugs, but also over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements.
  2. Have you or a family member ever had any allergies or reactions to anesthesia? Have you ever had any adverse reactions to medication of any kind?
  3. Your medical records, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other lab test results that are related to your orthopedic issues.

We look forward to meeting you soon. When we do, we’ll work in partnership to help you get healthy and stay well.

Need to Schedule? Give Us a Call at One of Our Clinic Locations:


Tacoma: 253-830-5200

Lakewood: 253-582-7257

Gig Harbor 253-358-4002


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