The Foot & Ankle Team
Dr. Christopher Gross will perform your foot/ankle surgery and will guide all of your care. While in the hospital, he is always assisted by a resident, who will help manage outpatient orders, prescriptions, and admissions. Depending on the case, the doctor will collaborate with other well qualified doctors for the best possible outcome.
Physician Assistants, Certified Athletic Trainers, and Nurse Practitioners
Joseph Ryan Davis, ATC is Dr. Gross’s primary assistant. He can diagnose and treat medical problems and has been trained through an accredited medical program. He will help to take care of you in the clinic setting. He will assist you in completing forms for time off work, FMLA, medication refills, etc. Please be patient, we provide great care to many patients and have busy clinical days.
Case Manager (Discharge Planner)
The case manager works closely with your surgeon to decide about your hospital discharge plan if you are admitted for an overnight stay. This person arranges any of your home health needs including setting up home physical and occupational therapy, as well as home nursing, if this service is needed. They make sure all of the equipment you need at home is ordered, such as knee scooter, crutches, bedside commode. They can also help answer questions about what services your insurance covers. Unfortunately, only in rare circumstances do foot and ankle surgeries gain you entrance into a rehab facility.
Registered Nurses, Certified Medical Assistants, and Patient Care Technicians
Nurses and medical assistants work with you in the hospital and in the clinic. They follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding your care. They can teach you about your surgery, medications, and your care after surgery.
Bone Anatomy of the Foot and Ankle
So, you are having surgery, what’s next?
Having surgery is a major decision and can take some time to come to terms with. Here you will find information on the process before surgery all the way up to the day of.
While at your Doctor’s Appointment
Sign consent and fill out anesthesia questionnaire once you decide to have surgery. The doctor might also have you fill out research forms as well. You should have received this packet as well as a bottle of surgical scrub. You will receive a call from the surgery scheduler within a week of signing the consent.
Things to keep in mind after you have left
Keep in mind that your surgery could be scheduled as much as 3 months out.
There are multiple factors that create this wait time, they include:
- MUSC limits the hours that the doctors have in the OR
- Dr. Gross sees and operates on both simple and complex patients from across the country
- The complexity of your procedure
Even if your procedure should only take 15 minutes it does not mean we can squeeze you in earlier given certain time constraints. Every surgery, no matter how long, takes 2 hours of prep from the staff. We will do everything we can to get you the earliest surgery appointment. If you would like, you can let the surgery scheduler know you would like to be put on a waiting list. This does not guarantee an earlier date but you could help.
When you get the call from the surgery scheduler
They will set the surgery date and postop date you, the surgery time isn’t determined until the day before surgery. Please let us know if there is a preference and if you want to be placed on a cancellation list.
You will get a call from the OR nurse who will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for check-in and go over pre-op instructions ie. what meds to take/not to take, answer questions about scrub, etc.
The surgery letter that the scheduler mails you will confirm surgery date, location, and when to expect the call with arrival time. It also gives a # to call if you haven’t heard from anyone by 4pm the day before surgery.
You must have someone stay at the hospital the entire time you are there for surgery...someone over 18 who can be responsible for you at least overnight. (you cannot take a cab or Uber, or have your 16 year old be the responsible party.)
If you have had a previous surgery on this foot/ankle please contact the previous surgeon or podiatrist to obtain the operative report from them. You can have that faxed to (843) 792-7794.
Depending on your job, you could be out of work for some time. Do not forget to fax your FMLA or disability work to (843) 792-3674. There is a $20.00 charge to have your paperwork released back to you or your place of employment. The paperwork will be completed within 2 weeks of you turning it in to us. Please be patient as we are taking great care of many patients at the same time.
You will fill out an anesthesia questionnaire to determine if you need additional labs, tests and a visit with our great anesthesia team before surgery.
If you need clearance from other your other physicians (cardiovascular, anesthesia, rheumatology etc...) please have written confirmation from those doctors as soon as possible and fax to (843) 792-7794.
Surgery is close
1 week to go
- Please have a strategy to get back into your home after surgery since you will likely not be able to walk on one leg.
- Please obtain ambulatory assistive devices like a knee scooter or knee walker (list of providers at end of packet)
- Practice using your assistive device
- Obtain a cast protector to prevent the dressing/splint from getting wet.
- Stop any medications that increase the risk of bleeding. These include medications containing anti-inflammatory substances such as Aspirin, all NSAIDs (Celebrex, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Advil, fish oils, herbs and supplements)
- If you take Coumadin, Plavix, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Eliquis, or other blood thinning medications, follow the instructions given to you by the doctor that provided them.
- Please let us know if you do take them.-Please let us know if you have ever had a blood clot
The day before surgery
- You will receive a call between 2:00 and 4:00pm to let you know what time to come to the hospital. If your surgery is on a Monday, you will get a call the Friday before. It is important that you arrive on time to the hospital. If you are late, it may cause problems with starting you surgery on time, in some cases can it can cause a cancellation of your surgery.
- If you do not receive a call by 4:00pm, please call (843) 792-8803 for instructions.
- Use the antiseptic scrub (see directions in this packet)
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before surgery. This can also lead to surgery cancellation if ignored.
Important Skin Preparation Before Surgery
Bacteria and germs normally live on skin and do not usually cause a problem. However, they may contribute to an infection after surgery. Bathing with special antiseptic soap before surgery reduces the amount of bacteria on skin and will lower your risk of infection after surgery. The name of the special soap is Chlorhexidine Gluconate Scrub(CHG). If you did not receive the special soap from your doctor you can use an antibacterial soap.
- Do not use CHG soap if you may be allergic to CHG (chlorhexidine gluconate).
- Do not use CHG soap on genitalia (private parts).
- Do not use CHG soap on open wounds, sores or cuts.
- Do not use CHG soap near your eyes, ears or mouth. If it contacts these areas, rinse out immediately and thoroughly with water.
- Do not shave or remove any hair at or around the area of your surgery.
- If rash, redness, itching or any other symptoms occur, stop use immediately. If rash persists or worsens, contact your physician.
- Keep this product away from children. If swallowed, seek medical attention immediately or call a poison control center right away.
- This product is for your use only. Do not give it to anyone else
It is important to take two showers or baths with the special CHG soap.
The night before surgery and the morning of surgery:
Please shower or bathe the night before and the morning of your surgery. You will use half of the bottle of special CHG soap for each shower or bath. If it is not possible to shower or bathe completely, it is still important to attempt to wash your body, especially the area of your surgery, the best you can using the special CHG soap.
- Using your regular shampoo, wash and rinse your hair.
- Using your regular soap, wash and rinse your face and genitalia (private parts).
- Using the CHG Scrub soap:
- Use half (1/2) of the CHG soap for your shower or bath the night before surgery and the other half for your morning shower or bath.
- Apply the CHG soap on a clean, wet washcloth and lather your entirebody from the neck down to your toes.
- Pay special attention to the area where you will be having surgery and wash this area for three minutes. If your surgery is above your neck or on your head, only use the special CGH soap on your body, do not use on your face, head or hair.
- It is important for the CHG soap to remain on your skin for three minutes so turn the shower off for three minutes and avoid rinsing.
- After three minutes, rinse the soap lather off your body. After rinsing do not use regular soap on your body.
- Dry yourself with a clean towel.
- Do not apply any powders, deodorants, lotions, creams, hair products, or make-up.
Dress in clean sleepwear or clothes.
The day of surgery
- Follow antiseptic bathing directions
- Don’t forget to brush your teeth
- Do not wear jewelry, body piercings, make up, or contact lenses
- Take your morning medications (no pain meds) with a small sip of water unless you were directed otherwise by your physician.
What to bring to the hospital
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- Insurance and prescription drug cards
- Advanced directive, living will, Medical PoA (If you have them)
- Current list of medications, including any you stopped taking in preparation for surgery
PLEASE CALL IF:
- You develop a cold, sore throat, fever, flu, infection, rash of any kind
- Have burning pain with urination and have not been treated for infection.
- Have a gout flare up
- Have redness, swelling, skin rash, open wound that has not previously been seen by your foot and ankle surgeon.
How to obtain ambulatory aides
CRUTCHES: We will provide you with a pair of crutches on the day of your surgery. If you have difficulty with crutches or have never used them, please practice before surgery.
WHEEL CHAIRS: Most insurance companies do not consider the use of a wheel chair medically necessary for foot and ankle procedures. Please let us know as soon as possible if you think you will need a wheelchair. This process takes weeks if not longer to complete.
KNEE SCOOTERS: Ask clinical staff you would like to obtain a knee scooter. The staff will provide you with an order for the knee scooter and you will contact your insurance company and they will tell you where to get your scooter if they pay for it
IMPORTANT- most insurance companies will not cover knee scooters. If that is the case there are companies that rent them or you can purchase one on Amazon starting at $150.00.
Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Companies are listed at the end of this packet.
KNEE WALKER: Ask the staff if you would like to obtain a knee walker. We will instruct you how to obtain one.
Shower chair, bedside commode, crutches - Please ask us at surgery check-in if you would like a Rx at the hospital to provide you with a prescription for these items (crutches can be given to you at the hospital). If you are admitted, you can be set up with Home Health services.
Common Symptoms After Surgery
While everyone’s surgery outcome is individual in nature, some symptoms can be common. If you are experiencing something you are uncomfortable, please feel free to call (843) 792-0111 or (843) 792-2300 and ask for the resident on call.
- Tight splint due to swelling
- Cramping Numbness
- Abnormally large amount of pain once nerve block wears off
- Pins- Green tip falling off. NO NEED TO WORRY OR REPLACE
- The nerve block can take up to 48 hours to wear off.
List of DME providers in Charleston
648 St. Andrew’s Blvd
6185 Rivers Ave. Ste. F
North Charleston, SC 29406
930 Ashley River Rd # B
Charleston, SC 29407
1011 Lake Hunter Circle
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
List of DME providers in Columbia
Hawthorne Pharmacy & Medical Equipment
2854 Sunset Boulevard
West Columbia, SC 29169
List of DME providers in Myrtle Beach
InCare Medical Equipment
4711 Highway 17 S., Bypass South
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577-6693
Phone: (843) 293-2122
List of DME providers in Beaufort
Beaufort Medical Equipment Inc.
2127 Boundary St, Ste 5
Beaufort, SC 29902
Phone: (843) 379-2800
List of online scooter rental websites
- www.bencormedical.com (South Carolina local, one of the cheapest)
Check Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Amazon or other retailers to compare prices.
Ice wrap for pain management:
An ice machine circulates cold water through a pad. The cold water works the same way an ice pack works, but a lot easier to maintain. The unit requires water to be refilled about once a week, depending on how much you use the machine. This can be obtained through TriMed in Mount Pleasant.
The ice machine makes a big difference with pain management in the different stages of recovery.
Something like a bag of peas or CryoMax cold pack can help reduce swelling and pain. You can ice for 20 minutes at a time with an hour rest. Please ensure something protects your skin from the ice source.
The CryoMax (can be bought at Walgreens/Walmart) remains cold for a good 4 hours, much longer than the traditional ice packs or even ice in a zip lock bag.
If you cannot obtain a cast protector, a garbage bag and duct tape can be used.