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MaineGeneral Orthopaedics FAQs


General Questions

Surgical Questions







What is orthopaedics?
Orthopaedics is a medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with musculoskeletal disorders.

The musculoskeletal system consists of the body's bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves.






What does an orthopaedic surgeon do?

While orthopaedic surgeons may perform surgery to restore function lost as a result of injury or disease of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or skin, they are also involved in all aspects of health care pertaining to the musculoskeletal system.

They use medical, physical and rehabilitative methods to help patients heal.






Do I need a referral?
If your insurance requires a referral, please call your primary care physician who can complete the necessary paperwork to ensure your visit is covered.

If you do not need an insurance referral and have not seen another care provider for this problem, please call the MaineGeneral Orthopaedics office to make an appointment.






What do I need to bring to my appointment?

As with any other office visit, you should bring your insurance card.

If you have been seen by any other care provider for this injury, you should obtain the medical records of those appointments and bring them with you.

You should also arrange to pick up or have sent to our office any X-rays, MRIs, nerve conduction studies or any other tests pertaining to this injury.





My injury is part of a workers compensation case. Are there any special instructions for me?
Make sure to bring all important medical recors and test results related to your injury to your visit.

You should also bring information such as the date or onset of injury and the name and number of your insurance adjuster. Your employer can help you with this information.






What will happen at my appointment?

  • We will ask you to complete a registration form and medical history if you did not receive one in the mail.

  • We will verify your demographic and insurance information.

  • You will be called into an exam room by a medical assistant who, depending on the location of your injury, may ask you to change into a gown or pair of shorts provided for you.

  • The physician will meet with you to discuss your complaint. If he/she feels it is necessary, he/she may order
    X-rays which will be done in our onsite X-ray suite.

  • Once the films have been processed (in about five minutes), the physician will meet with you to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options.






What is an NSAID?
NSAID stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. NSAIDs can be over-the-counter or prescription medications. Examples include ibuprofen or celebrex.

These medications are used to treat pain and inflammation and are often the first treatment for conditions such as arthritis.





Where are your offices located?  
MaineGeneral Orthopaedics proudly serves patients from throughout the Kennebec Valley from three locations:

  • Augusta: 15 Enterprise Drive; (207) 621-8700
  • Oakland: 107 First Park Drive; (207) 873-8100
  • Winthrop: Winthrop Commerce Center, 149 Main Street; (207) 621-8700






Is there a doctor on call?
Yes. One of our doctors is on call for emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you call our answering service you may ask that the doctor call you back regarding your surgical questions.

If you have suffered an injury or are in medical distress you should not call the "on call" doctor but instead call 911.

We ask that you not call the doctor on call for routine prescription refills. Please monitor your pain medicine supply and plan accordingly.

Call our office Monday through Thursday for pain medication refills.




How do I take care of my cast?
Keep your cast clean and dry. When showering, you should keep it well covered with a plastic barrier or avoid getting any water on it.

If you have problems with the cast, please call our office and we can inspect it for you and change it as needed.






Do you accept my insurance?

MaineGeneral Health is committed to providing services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

We accept all Maine private insurance plans, Medicare, MaineCare and TriCare. We will submit insurance claims on your behalf.

We ask that you pay for co-payments at the time of service. You may receive separate bills for any diagnostic tests. We accept Visa and MasterCard.

If you do not have insurance or cannot pay, MaineGeneral's CarePartners program may be able to help. Call toll free (877) 883-1797 for more information.





Where can I learn more about my condition?
Helpful information can be found on the following sites:






Where do your surgeons perform procedures?
The majority of surgeries are performed at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta..

In addition, Dr. Thaller performs outpatient surgery at MaineGeneral's Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.






What types of surgery does your practice offer?
We offer a broad array of orthopaedic services. Each of our surgeons has particular interests and specialized training in orthopaedic surgery subspecialties.

Among the more common surgical procedures offered are:

  • Total knee replacement

  • Total hip replacement

  • Knee arthroscopy

  • Shoulder arthroscopy

  • ACL reconstruction

  • Total shoulder replacement

  • Rotator cuff repair

  • Fracture repair

  • Hand, wrist and elbow reconstruction

  • Carpal tunnel release






What kind of anesthesia am I going to have during my surgery?
There are four types of anesthesia:

  • Local. This anesthetic is administered directly at the site of the incision. This is used only for minor surgeries such as trigger finger release and excisional biopsies.

  • Regional. This anesthetic is used to block feeling to an entire region of the body, such as the arm) without altering consciousness.

  • Monitored anesthesia care (MAC). This anesthetic is often used in conjunction with regional and local anesthesia.

    Delivered by inhalant or IV, it provides anxiety relief and amnesia while allowing the patient to remain responsive.

  • General. The patient is given IV medications and put into a state of complete unconsciousness. This is typically used for major procedures such as a total knee replacement.

Your physician will discuss your options for surgery based on your health condition, risks for surgery and the procedure being performed.







Do I need to get prior authorization for my surgery?
All insurances have different requirements for prior authorizations.

You should check with your insurance company to determine if the procedure you are having requires authorization.






Do I need any pre-operative testing done before my surgery?
Whether your surgery is arthroscopic or open, testing must be done to ensure it is safe for you to have anesthesia.

A pre-operative assessment will be needed for all procedures except those with local anesthesia.

This will include a blood draw and EKG (electrocardiogram) and possibly a meeting with an anesthesiologist.

Our office will schedule this appointment when they schedule your surgery.






I have had an injury and/or am having surgery. How long will I be out of work?

There are many factors that determine how long a surgical patient will be out of work, such as, type and location of the injury and the physical demands of the job.

If you've had knee surgery, for example, your time out of work will be less if you do office work compared to manual labor.

If you need work restrictions to give to your employer, please consult your physician at your visit or call our office.






What is arthroscopic surgery?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure orthopaedic surgeons use to see, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint.

In an arthroscopic examination, an orthopaedic surgeon makes a small incision in the patient's skin and inserts pencil-sized instruments that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint.

By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature television camera, the surgeon can see the interior of the joint through this very small incision rather than a large incision needed for surgery.

Once the injury is viewed, other small instruments are used to repair or remove torn or diseased tissues.

Arthroscopic surgery is most commonly used on knees, shoulders and wrists.






Is arthroscopic surgery right for me?
Depending on the location and severity of your problem, your physician may decide you are a candidate for arthroscopic surgery.

The benefits of arthroscopy are smaller incisions, which result in a shorter operation, shorter recovery times, a reduced risk of infection and less pain and swelling after surgery.

Your physician will discuss your treatment options and if arthroscopy is right for you.