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8:00am – 5:00pm by appointment only
Before you have your surgery, patients are asked to give some general health information, which includes: any allergies, medications, and medical history. Some patients have their interview over the phone, while some are asked to come to the hospital. Whether you get a phone call or go in for your interview, this is a good time for you to ask questions about getting ready for surgery or discuss any special needs you may have. Some testing may be required by your surgeon/anesthesiologist and done prior to admission. Some testing needs to be done immediately prior to the procedure and will be done on admission.
Why is it important that I am interviewed?
A nurse or an anesthesia provider will be the person who will interview you. The goal of this interview is to talk about any possible risks to you before you receive the anesthesia by asking specific health related questions. The person conducting the interview will give you directions, where/when to arrive, eating/drinking instructions, what to bring with you, etc. It is very important that you give all-important information about your health history and family history, including any problems with anesthesia and allergies.
- Have a list of medications you are taking; be sure you know the dose and time you take them. Include prescriptions, over the counter medications, vitamins, herbals, recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommends that everyone stop herbal medicines at least two (2) to three (3) weeks before surgery to avoid the possibility of unwanted interactions and side effects. This information will help your anesthesia provider to select the best medication for you to avoid any unwanted drug interactions.
- It is important that you have a list of any food or drug allergies you have.
- You will be asked to give information on your health history as well as your family’s health. This will include any problems with anesthesia or allergies.
- This information is very important for you safety. IF you do not follow the instructions about not eating or drinking before your surgery, your surgery may be delayed or even canceled.
What kind of testing can I expect?
Depending on your age, physical condition and/or procedure, your surgeon/anesthesiologist may order one or more of the following tests:
- blood testing
- chest x‑ray
- electro cardiogram (heart)
- respiratory testing (lungs/breathing)
- woman: pregnancy test
There are some patients who may be asked to see another specialist in order to be safer with the stress of surgery and anesthesia. These specialists may include a cardiologist or internist.
Can I continue taking all of medicines before surgery?
Not necessarily. You will be asked to let the doctors and nurses know all the different types of medicines, vitamins and herbals you are taking, why you are taking them, the amount you take and at what time you take them. You will also need to let the staff know if you take any recreational drugs, use tobacco, and if you drink alcohol. Any medication or food allergies are important for the nurse and doctor to know. They will let you know during your interview what medications you need to keep taking and any you must stop prior to surgery.
Will smoking cause problems with my surgery?
Cigarette smoking can cause possible postoperative problems. Smoking may slow down the healing of surgical wounds and bones. While it can take a long time to achieve the most benefits from not smoking, brief periods of not smoking at all before surgery can help you.
What important papers should I bring, if I need to bring any?
Please consider bringing the following with you to the hospital:
- Advance Directives (“Living Will” or a “Power of Attorney for Health Care”) are not required, but if you have them, you should bring them.
- Power of Attorney for Health Care — advance directive: you direct another individual to speak on your behalf, should you be unable to express your wishes.
- Living Will — advance directive: you give direction to your health care providers about your future treatment choices, should you be unable to express your wishes.
What should I do the morning of my surgery?
You will be instructed what medicines to take the day of surgery, any special supplies/ equipment to bring with you. You will also be told what time you need to stop eating and drinking. There are certain surgeries that require special preparations the day before, and you may even need to only drink clear fluids.
It is very important for you to talk honestly with your nurses, doctors and other staff members. It is also important for you to take part in your treatment choices, promote your own safety by knowing what is going on during your stay, and remain actively involved in your care.
You should feel comfortable about how to prepare for the day of surgery, know what to do when you arrive at the building for your procedure, and have an understanding of what to before returning home at the end of your interview/appointment.