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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.