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Postoperative Instructions

Prescription Medications

Colace (Docusate Sodium):

  • This medication is to help with constipation, a common side effect after taking narcotic pain medications (like Norco) and general anesthesia.
  • Take 1 pill in the morning and 1 in the evening to prevent constipation
  • It is normal to take several days to make a bowel movement after surgery
  • Drink plenty of clear liquids as the anesthesia can cause dehydration/constipation as well.

Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Norco):

  • This is a narcotic medication for pain.
  • This medication is to be taken AS NEEDED.
  • Plan to stay on a scheduled dose of 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hrs for the first 2-3 days.
    • After 2-3 days you should be able to space out or discontinue the medication and transition to Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
    • DO NOT exceed 4,000 mg of Acetaminophen in a 24 hour period.
  • Do not drive, drink alcohol, or take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) WHILE taking this medication.

Scopolamine patch:

  • For some patients, the anesthesia team will put on a scopolamine patch behind your ear to prevent nausea.
  • You can leave this in place for 72 hours.
  • When you take it off, was hands thoroughly or it can make your vision blurry.

Zofran (Ondansetron):

  • This is an anti-nausea medication.
  • It is a dissolving tablet. Place it on your tongue, allow it to dissolve, then swallow.
  • Take this as needed every 4-6 hours for the first 2 days after surgery.


  • This is commonly prescribed for shoulder replacement, lower extremity surgery (hip and knee) and after fractures are cared for. Some surgeries do not require it.
  • This medication prevents blood clots from forming
  • The most common side effects are stomach upset and kidney dysfunction, which can be prevented by staying hydrated (drink a minimum of 6-8 cups of water per day) and always taking the medication with food.
  • You will take this medication once or twice per day for the length prescribed.

Indomethacin (Indocin):

  • This medication will only be prescribed to patients undergoing hip arthroscopy or other specific procedures.
  • This in an important medication to help prevent bony overgrowth (called heterotopic ossification) that can be a potential side effect after surgery and to help with inflammation.
  • Take one 75 mg tablet once per day with food for 10 days.
    • If you are unable to tolerate this medication, please discontinue and stay diligent with an icing and motion regimen.
  • DO NOT take ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Naproxen, Naprosyn, Celebrex, Meloxicam or other anti-inflammatories while taking this medication.
    • Once you have completed the 10 day course of this medication, you can take other anti-inflammatories as needed for pain.

Wound Care

  • Leave the bulky surgical bandage on and DO NOT shower for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, remove bandages and gauze, but LEAVE STERI-STRIPS (white tape) IN PLACE if they are present.
    • You may shower at this point.
    • Cover incision sites with waterproof bandage prior to getting into the shower
      • Should the incisions accidentally get wet, pat them dry with a clean towel. DO NOT SCRUB.
  • It is normal to see a lot of blood-tinged soaked fluid on the bandages.
    • This may appear to be a pinkish-yellow fluid and is normal.
  • In between showers, leave the incision sites open to air
  • Your stitches will likely be removed at your first post op visit.
    • You may shower at this point without waterproof bandages over the incision sites.
    • DO NOT scrub the incision sites- you may let soap and water run down the incisions and pat dry with a towel once you’re done.
  • DO NOT soak in any pool/bath water until 4 weeks after surgery.

Physical Therapy

  • Physical therapy should start as recommended by Dr. Bodendorfer
    • If your surgery is on Thursday or Friday it is okay to wait until early the following week.
  • Choose a physical therapy clinic close to your home so you can be compliant with your program.
  • Please bring your prescription for therapy and physical therapy protocol (provided on surgery day and also on the website) to your first appointment.


  • Weightbearing will be as directed by Dr. Bodendorfer, either non-weightbearing (NWB), toe touch weightbearing (TTWB), partial-weightbearing (PWB), or weightbearing as tolerated (WBAT).
  • Your weight bearing status will increase with time depending on healing and the doctor feels that it is safe for you to begin to bear weight. DO NOT bear weight before this time.


  • You may get a brace on surgery day.
  • If you were given a brace, wear the brace at all times unless you are at PT working with a therapist or in the shower.
  • You do NOT need to wear the brace when you shower-- just keep your leg straight. You can sit in the shower tub or use a shower chair.


  • Use it as much as you can for the first 72 hours
  • Try to use it 4-5 times per day after the first 72 hours for the first two weeks after surgery then as needed.

Follow Up

  • You will need to follow up in clinic with Dr. Bodendorfer 10-14 days after surgery.
  • A new physical therapy prescription will be given to you at that time.
  • Please call scheduling to make an appointment (contact information above for Council Bluffs and Omaha offices; if you are a patient located near Harlan, Atlantic or Clarinda, please schedule through the respective clinic).

When should You Contact the Office?

  • If you have a fever >100.4 degrees F.
    • A low grade temperature (even up to 100 degrees) is expected after surgery, but let us know if it gets this high!
  • If you develop chills or sweats.
  • If you have pus, significant pain, significant tenderness, or redness surrounding the incision site.
  • If you are unable to urinate >1-2 days after surgery.