View these Frequently Asked Questions for surgery preparation tips.
Make arrangements to have someone assist you in getting home after the surgery. Items you’ll need to bring the day of surgery include:
Day of Surgery
- Photo ID
- Insurance card
- Medicare Card (if applicable)
- List of allergies
- List of current medicines
- Test or exam reports
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
- Containers for contact lenses, eye glasses and dentures
- Toiletries and other personal items if you will be staying overnight
- Leave valuables at home
- Go to Preparing for your Hospital Visit for more information
- Arrive 1-1/2 hours before your surgery time. This will allow you to complete any outstanding tests and to complete documentation. The wait time may be extended based on the surgeon’s timing with his or her other patients. Delays are always possible.
- Someone will meet you in the hospital lobby and escort you to the admitting department if additional personal information is required, or you will be taken directly to the Ambulatory Surgery Unit (ASU) if your pre-registration is complete.
- In the ASU our staff will prepare you for the procedure and answer any of your questions.
- Nursing assessments and documentation will be completed
- Any required outstanding tests will be completed—labs, X-rays, EKG, etc.
- The nurse will start your IV
- Your surgeon will see you in the ASU to answer any questions, obtain your consent for surgery and to mark your surgical site.
- An anesthesia care provider will complete an assessment and answer any questions you may have.
- Before surgery can begin, the operating room nurse will ask you a series of questions confirming your personal, medical and procedural information.
- During surgery your nurse is your guardian, ensuring that you are warm and comfortable and that your safety and privacy are maintained.
- A mild relaxing medicine may be given to you before going to the Operating Room (OR). Anesthesia is given in the OR. Your anesthesiologist and surgeon will explain the type of anesthetic that is best for you based on your surgery and medical history. One of these types of anesthesia may be used:
- Local anesthesia—Numbing medicine injected around the incision site to affect the area only. You remain awake.
- Epidural or Spinal anesthesia—Numbing medicine injected into the mid or lower back that numbs the nerves close to the incision and surrounding area.
- General anesthesia—Medicine given initially through an IV and also by breathing anesthetic gases mixed with oxygen. You will be asleep and a breathing tube may be placed in your wind pipe to help you breath during surgery, causing a slight sore throat the day after surgery.
- Nerve block anesthesia—A type of local anesthesia used for arm or leg surgery. Numbing medicine is injected close to a nerve to numb the entire limb. You will also be sedated so you will sleep during the surgery. Your limb may be numb for 24-48 hours.
- Monitored Anesthetic Care (MAC)—Includes both a local anesthetic at the incision site and IV medicine to sedate you. MAC is similar to general anesthesia but does not require a breathing tube. Just after surgery you will awaken.
- Your surgeon will speak to your family in the conference room.
- Your family may see you when you return to the ASU or in your hospital room.
- If you are going home on the day of your surgery, you may go from the OR to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).
- The recovery room nurse will stay with you until you are stable.
- Your nurse will do everything possible to control your pain. This includes completing a thorough pain assessment to assist the health care team in developing a plan to control pain in a way that will meet your expectations.
- Your family may be allowed to see you for a short period of time based on your stability and the stability of other patients present.
- Most patients spend about one hour in the PACU and then another hour in the ASU before discharge.
- Upon discharge your nurse will give you a pain medicine prescription and guidelines on incision care, diet, activity restrictions, when to call the doctor and follow up appointments.
There are several different types of post-surgery pain treatment options, depending on your needs and the type of surgery. While they are all relatively safe, they are not completely risk free. Most side effects include nausea, vomiting, itching and drowsiness, and are easily treated. Dangerous side effects are rare. You can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon.
For the Family
- Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA)
PCA is a computerized pump that allows the patient to safely administer small amounts of pain medicine into their intravenous (IV) line, usually in the arm. PCA provides stable relief in most cases and most patients like having control over their pain management.
- Patient-Controlled Epidural Analgesia
Patient-controlled epidural analgesia uses a PCA pump to deliver pain medicine into your epidural catheter (a very thin tube) that is placed in your back. Patients who receive epidural analgesia typically have less pain when taking deep breaths, coughing or walking. For patients with heart or lung disease this may reduce the risk of serious complications like heart attack and pneumonia.
- Nerve Blocks
A nerve block is used when pain from surgery affects one portion of your body, such as an arm or leg. Sometimes a catheter is placed for extended pain control. A nerve block reduces the amount of narcotic medications you may need, which may result in fewer side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, itching and drowsiness.
- Family members may wait in the Family Reception Area. Television, vending machines, coffee, and Wi-Fi access are available.
- The cafeteria is on the ground floor.
- During the surgery, family members may receive update phone calls. If family members decide to leave the reception area, they should inform the secretary of their whereabouts and leave a cell phone number if they wish to be called.
- After the procedure the surgeon will come out to speak to your family privately in a conference room.
- Your family will receive calls from the recovery room nurse with updates during the recovery phase. If you will be staying overnight, the recovery room nurse will notify your family when you will be taken to your room on the nursing unit.