← Surgery

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.