Preparing for Surgery

Know What to Expect

When you understand the steps involved in the surgical process and what to expect, you’ll be ready and confident when it’s time for surgery. You can count on us to keep you informed, safe, and comfortable every step of the way. Careful planning can improve your surgical experience, and it’s important to follow all instructions provided by your healthcare team.

 

Pre-surgical Testing

Once your surgery date is scheduled, a nurse will contact you to determine if you need a pre-surgical testing appointment. If one is necessary, the nurse will schedule this appointment with you. At the pre-surgical testing appointment you can expect to:

  • Meet with a nurse and complete an assessment.
  • Provide a list that includes names and dosages for all medications you use, including prescription, nonprescription, and over-the-counter medications and supplements. Also include any dietary supplements you take regularly, such as vitamins, herbals, and other products.
  • Meet with a nurse practitioner and/or anesthesia provider.
  • Provide a list of medication and/or food allergies and their effects.
  • Review and sign consent forms for surgery.
  • Complete any required diagnostic tests (blood tests, urine test, X-rays, etc.).
  • Provide the names and phone numbers of your primary care physician and any specialists you may use.

Before your surgery, you may be instructed to change your medication schedule or NOT to take certain medications and/or supplements, such as:

  • Aspirin
  • Dietary supplements
  • Fish oil
  • Herbal supplements, such as St. John’s Wort
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin)
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
  • Vitamin E

 

The Night Before Surgery

As you prepare for your surgery day, be sure to review any instructions from your doctor, including:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight or the morning of your surgery. This includes water, candy, gum, or chewing tobacco.
  • If you are taking medications, check with your doctor or the preoperative nurse to see whether you need to take anything on the day of surgery.
  • Make arrangements to have a responsible adult drive you home following surgery, and, if possible, have someone stay with you for 24 hours.
  • Refrain from taking any alcoholic beverages or nonprescription medications for 24 hours before and after surgery.

 

The Day of Surgery

You should arrive two hours before your surgery start time. Allow extra time for traffic and parking. You should go to the Surgery Center waiting room, where you will meet briefly with a registrar to complete your registration.

Before entering the Operating Room, you can expect to:

  • Change into a hospital gown.
  • Remove any jewelry/piercings, contact lenses/glasses, hearing aids, or dentures/removable bridges.
  • Give all your belongings to your contact person.

For your safety, a nurse will:

  • Confirm your identity by asking you to state your name and date of birth. Your identity will be confirmed repeatedly throughout your surgical experience to ensure your safety.
  • Place an allergy bracelet on you, if appropriate.
  • Review and discuss your medical history with you and help prepare you for surgery.

Your surgical team will visit with you and prepare you for surgery:

  • Your surgeon(s) will discuss your surgery with you, answer any questions, and mark your surgical site, if appropriate.
  • Your anesthesia team will discuss the plan for your anesthesia and start an IV (intravenous) line.
  • We are an academic medical center. Residents, medical students, and nursing students may also provide care under the supervision of your surgeon and nurse.

Once preparations are complete:

  • Our clinical team will escort you to the Operating Room.
  • Your contact person will be directed to the appropriate surgical waiting room.

 

After Surgery

Please take note of the following guidelines to help you have a safe recovery after surgery:

  • You will spend a short period of time in our post-anesthesia area.
  • You will be given specific postoperative instructions before you leave the hospital. You can also expect a phone call from your nurse 24 to 72 hours after surgery to see how you are recovering and to answer any questions you may have.
  • Do not plan to drive, operate any equipment, make important decisions, sign legal papers, or drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours after surgery. When you return home, it is not unusual to feel sleepy or slightly dizzy.
  • If you experience any difficulty at home, please do not hesitate to call your physician.