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How do I prepare for thumb base arthritis surgery?

Rachel Rohde, MD
Orthopedic Surgery

Before your surgery, you might receive a phone call from the facility where you are having surgery regarding preoperative instructions. Listen very carefully and take notes; you would be surprised how much you can forget when you are a little anxious! In most cases, general guidelines include:  

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your surgery. This includes water and coffee. This is important because when you are sleepy in the operating room, things from your stomach can work their way up and back “down the wrong way” into your lungs. This is called “aspiration” (and no, not the good kind!). If you think you might forget, post a note to yourself in the kitchen or on the faucets. You might even go as far as taping the refrigerator shut! Unfortunately, if you eat or drink after midnight, your surgery will have to be postponed.
  • Take your medicines as instructed with a sip of water. If you have been asked not to take certain medicines that morning, there is a reason.
  • Make sure that your primary care physician and any other necessary physicians have completed your pre-operative medical evaluation.
  • Make sure you come with someone to drive you home. Most patients are given at least some kind of narcotic or sedative (sleepy medicine) before, during, and/or after the operation. It is unsafe for you to drive or take public transportation. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.