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The Day of Surgery

It is nor­mal to be ner­vous as the day of surgery gets clos­er. It is very impor­tant that you under­stand the pro­ce­dure that you are hav­ing done to ensure your recov­ery is as safe and fast as pos­si­ble. Please remem­ber that sur­gi­cal treat­ments and pro­ce­dures are dif­fer­ent for each per­son. Although you may be hav­ing the same pro­ce­dure as some­one else, the way you will need to pre­pare and the things that are done before, dur­ing and after your surgery may be spe­cial to you. 

If you get a cough, cold, flu-like symp­toms, fever or any oth­er strange symp­toms before your pro­ce­dure, let your doc­tor know right away. 

  • On the day of surgery, you will meet all the mem­bers of your sur­gi­cal team. This may include: 
  • Your sur­geon
  • Anes­the­si­ol­o­gist
  • Nurse anes­thetist
  • Pre-op nurse
  • Oper­at­ing room nurse
  • Post anes­the­sia care (PACU) nurse
  • Var­i­ous oth­er health­care professionals

How do I pre­pare for my surgery?
As a gen­er­al rule, you should not eat or drink any­thing after mid­night before surgery. In some cas­es, you may be allowed to drink clear liq­uids up to a few hours before your anes­the­sia. Not being able to have a sip of water or cof­fee may seem strict, but this decreas­es the risk of prob­lems such as vom­it­ing dur­ing surgery.

  • You may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with a small sip of water, but do not swal­low any of it.
  • If you have been told to take med­ica­tions the day of surgery, take them with just a small sip of water.
  • Do not chew gum on the day of surgery.
  • Stop smok­ing for at least twen­ty-four (24) hours before surgery.
  • Do not drink alco­hol for at least twen­ty-four (24) hours before surgery.
  • Bathe or show­er the day of surgery. Do not wear make­up, lotion, false nails or dark nail polish.
  • Cloth­ing should be loose fit­ting, com­fort­able and appro­pri­ate for wear­ing after the pro­ce­dure you will be hav­ing. Do not wear jew­el­ry, includ­ing wed­ding rings and body pierc­ings (includ­ing tongue pierc­ing), or bring mon­ey or things that are impor­tant to you. Rings may be cut off if unable to be removed to low­er the risk of prob­lems such as swelling dur­ing surgery.
  • No hair­spray or hair­pins should be worn.
  • You may be asked to remove your glass­es, hear­ing aids and den­tures. The nurs­es will let you know if and when the time comes to remove them. DO NOT wear con­tacts the day of your procedure.
  • If you have a CPAP or BiPAP machine ask if you should bring it the day of surgery.

Bring items such as:

  • your inhaler if you have asthma 
  • cane if you use one 
  • crutch­es if need­ed post-op

Can I dri­ve home after surgery?
Patients return­ing home fol­low­ing their surgery must be dri­ven home by a respon­si­ble adult who will stay with them for 24 hours.

What will I expect on arrival?

Your nurse in the pre­op­er­a­tive area on the day of surgery will make sure that you are com­plete­ly ready with all the cor­rect infor­ma­tion before surgery.

  • Patient Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion
    You will be asked to state two ways to iden­ti­fy your­self such as your name and birth­day. The nurse will check that your iden­ti­fi­ca­tion bracelet match­es what you say and your records. It is very impor­tant that you always give the cor­rect infor­ma­tion about your­self when you are asked. 
  • Sur­gi­cal Con­sent
    Your sur­geon will have informed you of your pro­ce­dure pri­or to surgery. You will be asked to sign your name on a writ­ten sur­gi­cal con­sent; a nurse or staff mem­ber will be there to serve as a wit­ness. At this time, you are encour­aged to ask ques­tions about your surgery. Please make sure you are well informed by the surgeon. 
  • His­to­ry and Phys­i­cal Exam­i­na­tion
    Your sur­geon will doc­u­ment your med­ical his­to­ry and phys­i­cal exam­i­na­tion. Most often this is done before the day of surgery, but may be done the day of surgery, too. If there have been any changes to your health or his­to­ry after your exam and before surgery, it is very impor­tant that you inform your doc­tor on the day of surgery. For exam­ple: the flu, any injury that your physi­cian may not know or a blood trans­fu­sion. If you haven¡¦t already you need to ask your sur­geon how your pain will be managed. 
  • Anes­the­sia Inter­view
    Your anes­the­si­ol­o­gist will inter­view you before your surgery. This is an impor­tant time for you to ask ques­tions about your anes­the­sia, what to expect, if you have had any type of reac­tion before with surgery, any fam­i­ly mem­ber that may have had a prob­lem with surgery. 
  • Nurse Inter­view
    • Pre­op­er­a­tive nurse: The nurse will check on you and ask you ques­tions. Some of the ques­tions you may have been asked before, but it is impor­tant to ask for your safe care. 
    • Surgery nurse: The nurse who will be with you dur­ing surgery. He or she will ver­i­fy the fol­low­ing before tak­ing you into the oper­at­ing room: 
      • Your name and birth date 
      • Aller­gies
      • The name of your surgeon 
      • What type of surgery you are having 
      • Where you are hav­ing your surgery

What can I expect dur­ing the few hours before my surgery?
On the day of surgery, you may be asked to come to the facil­i­ty sev­er­al hours before your pro­ce­dure is sched­uled to begin. This allows the staff to com­plete any tests that can­not be per­formed until the day of surgery. You will be tak­en to an area where you will be asked to take off your jew­el­ry and cloth­ing and you will be giv­en a hos­pi­tal gown to put on. This is called the pre­op­er­a­tive area. The staff will put all your belong­ings in a safe spot, or have you give the clothes to your fam­i­ly or friend to hold onto. 

You may then sit in a big reclin­er chair or wait on the stretch­er. A nurse may have you sign some impor­tant paper­work. He or she will take your tem­per­a­ture, blood pres­sure and pulse, do a nurs­ing assess­ment, review your med­ica­tions and then answer any ques­tions you may have. An intra­venous (IV) line will be put in a vein in your hand or arm. The pur­pose of the IV is to pro­vide flu­ids and med­ica­tions dur­ing the surgery. You must remove all hair­pins, den­tures, hear­ing aids, pierc­ings, con­tact lens­es, and glass­es unless you are told by the staff that you keep those items.

Will I be able to talk to my anes­the­si­ol­o­gist before surgery?
Yes. You will meet your anes­the­sia provider, and oth­er staff mem­bers of the team, before you go into the oper­at­ing room. The anes­the­sia provider will exam­ine you, review your med­ical and anes­the­sia his­to­ry and the results of any tests you may have done. The anes­the­si­ol­o­gist will explain to you the type of anes­the­sia you will receive, and will answer any fur­ther ques­tions you may have. Depend­ing on your health, the type of surgery and your per­son­al wish­es, the anes­the­sia provider and your sur­geon will deter­mine the type of anes­thet­ic that is best for you.

Will I get to speak with my sur­geon?
Your sur­geon will vis­it you before start­ing the surgery to ask if you have any ques­tions and will use a spe­cial pen to mark on your body the cor­rect surgery site.

After I am checked in, how long do I wait for surgery?
Delays may occur when a hos­pi­tal emer­gency case is put ahead of yours or a patient before you has a pro­ce­dure that lasts longer than planned. It is nev­er easy to wait, so try to keep your­self busy by read­ing, watch­ing tele­vi­sion or using relax­ing tech­niques. If there is a delay, your patience and under­stand­ing is great­ly appreciated.