Information for Patients
A referral from a Physiotherapist, Sports Physician or General Practitioner is required before an appointment with an orthopaedic consultant can be made.
This is a requirement of ACC and all private insurers.
Once a referral has been received, we will contact you to schedule the next available appointment.
During your appointment, your surgeon will discuss your injury and review any imaging or scans you have had performed. It is helpful if you can provide us with the details of these images or scans, as they are often available to us online.
Your surgeon will also examine your injury so it is important to wear appropriate clothing for the examination, i.e. a singlet for a shoulder exam or shorts/loose trousers for knees and hips. If you do forget, we have options available at the clinic for you to change into.
After the examination, the surgeon will take you through a treatment plan and discuss the surgical and non-surgical options available, along with any potential risks of the treatment options.
In a number of cases, your surgeon will suggest further investigations (such as MRI scans), and these will be arranged after the consult.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions and there is no pressure to make the decision on how you wish to proceed then and there.
TIP: We suggest you write down any questions you may have prior to the appointment as we find a number of patients forget what they wanted to ask during their appointments.
Funding For Surgery
If your injury is covered by ACC, your surgeon will need to complete an application to fund surgery (see ACC & Medical Certificates section below). Once ACC approval is received we will contact you to schedule an appropriate date for surgery. ACC approval lasts for 12 months following their decision.
If you have private health insurance and ACC has declined to cover your surgery, or if you never had ACC cover for the injury, you can use health insurance to fund your surgery. In this case your surgeon will provide you and your insurer with the estimated cost of surgery and a description of the procedure. Your insurer will then provide us with a pre-approval letter, which usually takes between two and five days to be issued. Once we receive this we are then able to book your surgery.
If your condition is not covered by ACC and you don’t have health insurance, you are able to privately fund your surgery. UniSports Orthopaedics will provide you with the estimate of your surgical procedure and once agreed you can book your surgical date.
Pre-Operative Information Pack
Approximately two weeks prior to your operation date, we will send out a surgery pack via email which will provide information regarding your surgery. This information will include:
- the location of surgery
- the time you need to arrive
- when to stop eating and drinking
- any medication you may need to stop prior to surgery
- any specific instructions for the day of surgery
The pack will also contain a health questionnaire, together with other forms which you need to complete and send to the hospital (and in some cases, the anaesthetist). These documents are important as the information provided is used for your pre-operative screening. If further screening is required, the hospital will contact you directly for a review.
Smoking has significant negative effects on your surgical recovery and overall treatment outcome. Smoking causes impaired healing of bone, tendon and surgical wounds resulting in a higher rate of post-surgical infections. Furthermore, it can cause increased cardiovascular and anaesthetic complication risks.
It is recommended by all our surgeons that you stop smoking before any surgery.
Prior to surgery it is often important that patients undergo a period of rehabilitation. This is especially important for patients who have to wait for surgical approval. The general rule is that the better you are functioning before surgery, the quicker you will recover following the operation. Your surgeon will discuss with you any goals or rehabilitation you need to undertake prior to your surgery.
ACC Funding For Surgery
If your injury is covered under ACC they will fund your appointments with the surgeon and any scans you may require, such as MRIs. If you decide to proceed with surgical treatment, your surgeon must complete a formal request for ACC to fund your surgery. This request is called an Assessment Report and Treatment Plan (ARTP) and will be completed on the day of your appointment. Once received by ACC they will review your claim and make a decision on whether they will fund your surgery. This decision typically takes between two and eight weeks and unfortunately there is nothing we can do to speed up the process.
ACC will either:
- agree to fund your surgery. In this instance, you will receive an approval letter from ACC, a copy of which will also be sent directly to the clinic; or
- decline the surgery request. If this occurs you have a number of options available which will be discussed with you. These options include lodging an appeal against the ACC decision, funding the surgery through health insurance, or paying for it personally. Alternatively, your specialist may refer you to the public health system.
Your surgeon will provide you with the appropriate medical and return to work certificates for the period before and after your surgery. The length of time set will be discussed with you and is based around your role, the procedure undertaken and any restrictions it requires. Certificates will be reviewed at your clinical appointments.
The majority of the operations carried out by UniSports Orthopaedics are day-stay procedures. This means that you are discharged from hospital the same day. Alternatively, you may be required to spend one or two nights in hospital.
At the time of discharge from hospital you will be given:
- exercises that we expect you to perform at home following surgery
- instructions on how to protect your wound/surgical site and any restrictions you will have
- prescriptions for any required medications and directions on how they should be taken
- return to work/ACC certificates
- details of your first post-operative appointment, which is typically scheduled for 7-14 days after your surgery
It is very important that you arrange for somebody to drive you home from hospital following the operation. We also recommend that someone stays with you for the first night.
Post-surgery, it is important to use ice for 10-15 minutes at a time as much as possible to help with controlling your swelling, bruising and pain.
The length of time you will be unable to drive following surgery is decided on a case-by-case basis and depends heavily on the part of the body affected and type of procedure performed.
It is recommended that you do not drive until after your first post-operative appointment and that you seek the advice of your specialist before trialling driving.
To consider driving you must:
- be able to get in and out of car without issue
- not be using aids such as moonboots, slings or crutches, etc
- feel confident controlling the steering wheel
- not be taking strong pain medication
- be confident making an emergency brake
We also recommend that patients check with their car insurance company to see if they have any additional restrictions for driving following surgery.
UniSports Orthopaedics surgery is performed at one of four leading surgical centres:
Auckland Surgical Centre
9 St Marks Rd,
Remuera, Auckland 1050
Phone: 09 925 4700
Southern Cross hospital Brightside
3 Brightside Rd,
Epsom, Auckland 1023
Phone: 09 925 4200
Mercy Ascot Hospital
90 Greenlane Road East
Remuera, Auckland 1072
Phone: 09 520 9500
125 Ormiston Road
Flat Bush, Auckland 2016
Phone: 09 250 1157