Appointments & Surgery FAQs

Appointments & Surgery FAQs

Will I need to go to therapy after surgery?

Physical/occupational rehabilitation plays an important role in contributing to a successful surgical outcome. If rehabilitation is advised you will receive a prescription for therapy at your post-operative appointment. Frequency and duration of therapy will depend on the type of surgery. In many cases, home exercises will also be recommended to help supplement your return to function.

Where will I do my therapy?

Therapy can be done anywhere that is convenient for you. We have a list of physical and occupational therapy offices that we routinely use and we can assist you with selecting one that is right for you. If you prefer, Ortho Illinois offers these services at four convenient locations: Rockford, Belvidere, Rockton/Roscoe, and Machesney Park. Appointments can be requested at 815-484-6990.

When can I drive after surgery?

Patients should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking any narcotic pain medication. The ability to resume driving will depend on the type of surgery, body part, and the how much function has been regained after healing and therapy. Your physician will be able to give you more specific information at your follow-up visits.

When can I return to Work?

Generally, patients are able to return to desk work within the first few weeks after surgery, although this depends on the type of surgery performed and how the patient is feeling. If your work is labor intensive, you may be off for up to 3-5 months. Your doctor will be able to provide more specific information as it pertains to recovery from your particular procedure.

Will I need pain meds after surgery?

It is likely you will be issued a prescription for pain medication and given instructions regarding anti-inflammatory use and icing to help control pain and swelling post-surgically. Specific instructions vary by surgical procedure and are covered in the Post-Operative Instructions your surgeon will provide.

If my appointment is scheduled with a physician, will I see him or her on my first visit?

Ortho Illinois surgeons utilize a team approach with their physician assistants (PA) that allows for the highest quality service and treatment. PAs are an extension of the surgeon’s care and are trained to provide many appointment services and assist in surgical procedures. Depending on the nature of your injury or condition, you may be seen by either the surgeon or the PA. You can be assured that as a team, the two collaborate and your surgeon is aware of your evaluation results and treatment plan. Patients always have the option of requesting to see the physician as well, even if their appointment was conducted by the PA. The physician and physician assistant work together to offer a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to return you quickly to a healthy, active lifestyle. Ortho Illinois’ non-surgical physicians do not utilize physician assistants.

How much of my surgery will be covered by my insurance?

Patients’ insurance benefits are verified at Ortho Illinois by our verification of benefits department prior to any procedure. However, this verification of benefits does not identify the financial portion for which the patient will be held responsible. It is the responsibility of each patient to contact their insurance carrier for a more complete understanding of their policy coverage.

I had an MRI ordered. What can I expect?

After your physician has received the results of your MRI, you will be contacted to arrange another appointment to review those results and discuss the appropriate course of action.

My MRI showed a tear and I’m having surgery. Who do I contact?

Depending on your surgeon you may have been instructed to call our office, or told that the surgeon’s scheduler would contact you. In general, Dr. Trenhaile, Dr. Whitehurst, and Dr. Van Thiel will provide you with the phone number to contact their dedicated surgery schedulers. The remaining surgeons will usually have their schedulers contact you to select a surgery date and to arrange the necessary preoperative testing. If you are unsure which instruction you were given, please contact your physician’s office at 815-398-9491.

Who performs the surgery?

Your Ortho Illinois physician performs the surgery and is assisted by his or her Physician Assistant (PA).

Am I asleep for the surgery?

With the exception of some hand procedures, which may only require a local anesthetic, patients are asleep under anesthesia during surgeries.

Will my surgery be open or arthroscopic?

The majority of sports medicine-related procedures for shoulder, knee, and hip are performed arthroscopically. However some surgeries may require a more invasive approach and separate or larger incisions may be required to aid in the repair/reconstruction. Joint replacement surgeries require an open approach to provide access for the surgeon during the procedure.

What is arthroscopic surgery?

A minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a small camera called an endoscope is inserted into the affected area to perform surgical repair of damaged tissue. This is often done through 2 or 3 portals, or small incisions in the skin.

When can I shower?

Each surgeon will provide you with specific instructions regarding bathing. How soon you can sponge bathe or shower will depend on the type of surgery and body location. This information will be included in the Post-Operative Instructions you received prior to your surgery. In all cases, it is very important to keep your dressings dry until your physician indicates it can be removed and your incision has healed appropriately.