What to Expect

We’re glad you’ve chosen to consider Surgical Consultants for your surgical care. At Surgical Consultants, we pride ourselves on making surgery as easy and pleasant for our patients as possible. As part of our commitment, we do everything we can to explain and clarify every step of the process. We understand that surgery is an unfamiliar experience for most of our patients and that information is often the best way we can provide comfort and peace of mind – both before and after your operation. The information here is intended to provide answers to questions many patients have about our services. If your question or concern is not addressed completely, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Common Questions

Before Your Appointment

Where do I call for an appointment? 
Call the clinic to which you’ve been referred directly to schedule your appointment. 

How do I prepare for the office visit? 
It's always wise to confirm that your insurance will cover the care you'll receive before you schedule a visit. If your plan requires a referral, make sure to get one from your physician. When you schedule your appointment, you’ll be transferred to a pre-registration representative so there will be less paperwork to complete on the day of your appointment. You should, nevertheless, plan on arriving for your appointment 30 minutes early to fill out forms that cannot be completed over the phone. 

What should I bring with me to the office visit? 
  • Related X-rays, tests and medical reports
  • A list of any prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking
  • The phone number of your pharmacy
  • Your insurance card
  • The name and phone number of your referring primary care doctor and clinic
  • Check, or credit card for any co-pay your insurance requires

How long will my appointment last? 
Although this varies by physician and treatment, it's wise to allow at least 1 hour for the visit. 

Is parking available? 
The parking lot adjacent to our Burnsville office is free. The best parking for our Edina office is the skyway ramp connected to Fairview Southdale Hospital, across France Avenue. The hourly rate for this ramp is $2.00. 

Before Your Surgery

Should I check with my insurance carrier to confirm my coverage? 
Yes. It’s a good idea to make sure your insurance benefits cover the specific location and type of surgery you are having.

How long do I have to wait until my surgery?
Scheduling does vary depending on urgency. We will work with you to schedule your surgery in an appropriate time frame.

Do I need a physical before my surgery? 
Most of our surgical procedures do require a pre-operative history & physical. If directed, you’ll need to schedule one with your primary care physician.

Who can help me complete any required disability or insurance forms? 
Make sure to bring or fax your forms to the office where you had your consultation. Submitted forms are usually ready for pick up within 10 - 14 business days.

After Your Surgery

Who do I call if I have questions about my recovery? 
It is common to have post-operative questions. A qualified staff member at your Surgical Consultants office will gladly answer any concern you have as quickly as possible.

When should I call my doctor?
Call your Surgical Consultants office if your recovery is not progressing as discussed with your physician. We’re always available to answer your questions. 

Who do I call after hours? 

An on-call physician is always available for urgent concerns at your Surgical Consultants office phone number. For less pressing questions, leave a message in the general voicemail at either of our offices and your call will be returned on the next business day. If you feel you need immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1.

Do I need to come back after my surgery? 
Your surgeon will inform you if a post-operative visit is needed. If so directed, contact your clinic office to schedule an appointment. 

Who do I call for prescription refills? 
Call your pharmacy for refills; they will contact us for approval. Allow at least 24 hours for the prescription to be refilled. We don't fill narcotic prescriptions after office hours, so please plan ahead and make requests for your medications during business hours. If your initial prescription was filled at the hospital following your surgery, you’ll need to contact our office to refill your prescription. 

How should my incision look? 
Normally your incision will appear slightly swollen with light redness directly along the incision as it heals. It may feel like a bump or ridge as healing and scarring happens, and over time (3-4 months) this bump or ridge feeling should slowly go away. In general, clear or pink watery drainage can be normal at first as your incision heals, but should decrease over time. 

How do I know if my incision is infected? 
Look at your incision for signs of infection, like redness around the incision spreading to surrounding skin, or cloudy, foul-smelling drainage. If you feel warm, check your temperature to see if you are running a fever. If you experience any of these symptoms, please notify the nurse at our office. We may need you to come into the office for an incision check. 

How do I take care of my incision? 
If you have a dressing in place - starting the day after surgery, replace the dressing 1-2 times a day until there is no further drainage from the incision. At that time, a dressing is no longer needed. Try to minimize tape on the skin if irritation is occurring at the tape sites. If you have significant irritation from tape on the skin, please call the office to discuss other methods of dressing your incision. Small pieces of tape called “steri-strips” may be directly covering your incision; these may be removed 10 days after surgery unless otherwise specified by your surgeon. If these tapes start to loosen at the ends, you may trim them back until they fall off or are removed. 

If you had “Derma bond” tissue glue used as a dressing (this causes your incision to look shiny with a clear covering over it), please note that this type of dressing wears off with time and does not require more dressings over the top unless there is drainage around the glue as it wears off. Do not apply ointments or lotions over the incisions until the glue has completely worn off. 

There is a piece of tape or a sticky “lead” still on my skin. Can I remove this? 
Sometimes the sticky “leads” used for monitoring during surgery or for evaluation in the emergency department are not all removed while you are in the hospital. These sometimes have a tab or metal dot on them. You can easily remove these on your own. If there is a gel substance under the “lead”, simply clean it off with a washcloth or paper towel. 

What can I do to minimize constipation (very hard stools, or lack of stools)? 
There are several steps you can take to minimize constipation. Stay well hydrated, and increase your dietary fiber intake or take a fiber supplement . Walk around frequently. You may consider an over-the-counter stool-softener. Your pharmacist can assist you with choosing one that is stocked at your pharmacy. Constipation is also one of the most common side effects of pain medication. If you are using pain medication, be pro-active and try to prevent problems with constipation by taking the steps above before constipation becomes a problem. 

Why am I having a hard time sleeping now that I am at home? 
Many medications you receive while you are in the hospital can impact your sleep for a number of days after your surgery or hospitalization. Decreased level of activity and naps during the day may also make sleeping at night difficult. Try to minimize day-time naps, and get up frequently during the day to walk around your home during your recovery time. Sleep aides may be of some help, but are not recommended for long-term use. 

I am having some back discomfort. What should I do? 
This may be related to certain positioning that was required for your surgery, extended periods of time in bed, or other changes in your overall activity level. You may try ice, heat, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to treat this temporarily. Note that many pain medications have acetaminophen in them and state this on the prescription bottle. Be sure not to exceed the maximum of 4000mg per day of acetaminophen. If your pain does not resolve, is severe, or is a flare of back pain you have had on other occasions prior to surgery, please contact your primary- care physician for further recommendations or for an appointment to be examined at their office. 

Why am I having headaches? 
Headaches can be caused by many things: caffeine withdrawal, use of pain medications, dehydration, high blood pressure, lack of sleep, over-activity or exhaustion, or flare-up of usual migraine headaches. If you feel this is related to muscle tension (a band-like feeling around the head, or a pressure at the low-back of the head) you may try ice or heat to this area. You may need to drink more fluids (try electrolyte drinks like Gatorade), rest, or take your usual migraine medications. If your headaches do not resolve, worsen, are accompanied by other symptoms, or if your blood pressure is high, please call your primary care physician for recommendation or examination. 

I am unable to urinate. What do I do? 
A small percentage of people can have difficulty urinating initially after surgery. This includes being able to urinate only a very small amount at a time and feeling discomfort or pressure in the very low abdomen. This is called “urinary retention”, and is actually an urgent situation. Proceed to your nearest emergency department for evaluation (not an Urgent Care Center). Sometimes the bladder does not work correctly after certain medications you receive during surgery, or related to certain procedures. You may need to have a catheter placed until your bladder recovers. When planning to go to an emergency department, it may help to call ahead and let them know you are coming in for this problem after a surgery. This may help you get in quicker to be evaluated. If you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection, please contact your primary care physician for the proper evaluation and treatment.