Before Surgery

Choosing a date for surgery

For patients in a lot of pain, we can usually find you an early surgery date which means you don’t have to wait in pain for too long. Many patients will need to make arrangements with family or arrange time off work and typically we will find a surgery date, which is 2 – 3 months away. There is absolutely no pressure to have surgery until you feel ready.

Surgery Cost and Quotation for services

Professor Walter’s staff will provide you with a quotation, which specifies fees payable. The cost of surgery is discussed with you at the consultation and you will be given a written quotation. If you are an Australian resident, fees are partly covered by Medicare, partly covered by your private health fund and there will be an amount to be paid which is called an “out-of-pocket” cost – this is paid by you.

  • Your quote will contain item numbers. We strongly recommend you contact your health fund to find out exactly what they will pay for the item numbers listed, so you can calculate what your out-of-pocket cost will be.
  • Hospital expenses should be discussed directly with the admission staff at the Mater Hospital, and/or with your Health Fund.

Consent forms and admission forms

Your surgery consent form will be completed at the time of your consultation with Professor Walter. When a date is set for your surgery, the Mater hospital will send you an electronic admission form, or post one to you. This needs to be completed and returned to the hospital prior to your admission date.

This paperwork should be taken to the Mater Hospital at 25 Rocklands Road, Crows Nest or can be mailed to Mater Hospital, PO Box 958, North Sydney NSW 2059

Other consent forms

Professor Walter collects information about each surgery for the purposes of patient management and research.  You will be given a database consent form, which is to be completed and given back to Professor Walter’s secretary prior to your surgery. Professor Walter does research which is published and presented at international meetings. This work makes a hugely valuable contribution to the overall body of knowledge on joint replacement and makes a difference to patients around the world – today and in the future. Patient information is de-identified and patient privacy is not compromised.


Professor Walter works closely with a small number of expert anaesthetists to optimise the pain relief and recovery after the surgery. The anaesthetist for your surgery will depend on which day your surgery is scheduled. The anaesthetist will usually contact you to discuss your anaesthetic beforehand. You should ask them to provide you with a quotation for their services.

Your Teeth

Tooth decay and mouth infections can be a cause of infection in joint replacement. It is very important you talk to your dentist to address abscess and tooth decay prior to having surgery, as infections in the mouth can cause infections in other parts of the body. Even years after you have surgery, it is important to ensure you are vigilant about dealing with decay in your mouth, or any small infections on other parts of your body. Please take to your dentist, a copy of the current advice from the Arthroplasty Society of Australia, which outlines recommendations for mouth care after joint replacement surgery.

Pre-operative testing

You will need to have a chest x-ray, ECG and blood tests done prior to surgery. These are standard tests for all patients. These are usually done 2 weeks prior to your pre-admission appointment. These investigations can be done at The Mater hospital or at a pathology location that is convenient for you. The results are required for your pre-admission appointment. Results need to be back in time for your pre-admission appointment.

Pre-Admission Clinic

Pre-Admission Clinic at Mater Hospital

The hospital will contact you a few weeks prior to your surgery to make an appointment for you at the pre-admission clinic. At this appointment, you will be fully assessed and given all the information you need about your hospital stay and procedure.

A general practitioner can be present at your pre-admission appointment if it is necessary.

Test results from your chest x-ray, ECG and blood pathology will be discussed with you and your anaesthetist may come see you at the pre-admission appointment. Pre-Admission clinic staff can be contacted on (02) 9900 7494.

The day before your admission to hospital

A nurse from the pre-admission clinic will contact you after 4pm, the day prior to your surgery. The nurse will inform you what time you need to arrive at the Mater hospital, and will give you instructions on when to begin fasting (nil by mouth).

Managing your medications

Prior to your surgery, we will discuss your medications with you. You will be given important instructions about what you should and should not take prior to surgery. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you are unsure about these instructions. Also, some patients with complex medical conditions will need appointments with other medical specialists to ensure that it is safe to proceed with surgery. We will let you know if this is something you need to do.

About the Operating Room

Professor Walter uses two operating rooms, with a separate clinical team in each room. They function sequentially, which means that after one operation is finished, he may start the next operation in the other operating room.  This allows adequate time after an operation for the room to be cleared and set-up for the next patient.