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Preparing for Surgery

What is the difference between outpatient surgery…
What health care professionals will be involved in…
What can I do to help ensure my surgery will go smoothly?
What is involved in a presurgery checkup?
What preparation may be necessary before surgery?
What do I need to do the day of surgery?
What preoperative preparation may occur?
What will happen once I am in the operating room?
What should I expect when the operation is over?
What things do I need to know before I go home?
How long will it take to recover?

What is the difference between outpatient surgery…

  • Outpatient surgery
    • Also called ambulatory or same?day surgery, does not require an overnight stay in the hospital
    • Meaning that you can go home the same day if your condition is stable
    • You will need someone to drive you home
    • Outpatient surgery may be done in a hospital, health care provider?s office, surgical center, or clinic
  • Inpatient surgery
    • Takes place in a hospital and requires an overnight stay

What health care professionals will be involved in…

  • Your health care provider leads a team of health care professionals who will work together to care for you before, during, and after your operation
    • Nurses will assist your doctor during surgery, perform special tasks, and help make you more comfortable
    • A resident or fellow may help during your surgery
    • The anesthesiologist is the person who is in charge of giving anesthesia and checking its effects

What can I do to help ensure my surgery will go smoothly?

  • If you smoke, try to stop smoking before your operation
    • General anesthesia affects the normal function of your lungs
  • If you are taking medication, ask if you should keep taking it before or after the operation
    • Make sure your health care provider knows all of the medications you are taking,
      • Including those that have been prescribed for you and those that are bought over-the-counter, such as vitamins, herbs, or other supplements
  • Follow a special diet before surgery if your health care provider suggests it
  • If you have diabetes, controlling your glucose levels before surgery may improve healing

What is involved in a presurgery checkup?

  • A week or two before your surgery, you may need to have a physical exam and tests
    • Blood and urine test may be done
    • Chest X-ray
    • Electrocardiogram
      • This is a test of heart function with an instrument that prints out the results as a graph

What preparation may be necessary before surgery?

  • Depending on the type of surgery, your health care provider may want you to use a laxative and eat lightly
  • Do not drink alcohol 24 hours before surgery
    • You may also be asked to use an enema at home a day or two before some types of surgery

What do I need to do the day of surgery?

  • Remove any nail polish or acrylic nails
  • Do not wear make up
  • All jewelry should be removed from your body
  • If you will be staying overnight, bring only those items you will need such as:
    • A case for glasses
    • Contact lenses
    • Or dentures
  • You will be given an ID bracelet
    • It will include your name, birth date, and health care provider?s name
  • Be prepared to go over your health history including
    • Drug allergies
    • Allergies to food or latex (some surgical gloves are made of latex)
    • You will be asked what medications you are taking

What preoperative preparation may occur?

  • You will change from your clothes into a hospital gown and maybe a cap
  • Steps may be taken to help prevent deep vein thrombosis
    • You may be given special stockings to wear, or inflatable devices may be put on your legs
    • Drugs may be given to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis
  • You will be taken to an area to wait until the surgical team is ready for you
    • Your health care provider or team will confirm your name, birth date, and type of surgery before you go to the operating room
  • If the operation is to be done on one side of your body, the site may be marked with a special pen
  • An anesthesiologist will discuss which type of anesthesia you will receive during the operation
  • A tube called an intravenous (IV) line may be placed into a vein in your arm or wrist
    • An IV is used for supplying your body with fluids, medication, or blood during and after the surgery
  • You may be given medication to help you relax.
  • You also may be given other medications that your doctor has ordered, such as antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection

What will happen once I am in the operating room?

  • After you have been taken into the operating room, you will be moved to the operating table
  • Monitors will be attached to various parts of your body to measure:
    • Pulse
    • Oxygen level
    • And blood pressure
  • The surgical team may again ask you your name, date of birth, and what operation you are having
  • A final review of medical records and tests may be done
  • If you are having general anesthesia, it will be given through your IV line
  • After you are asleep, a tube called a catheter may be placed in your bladder to drain urine

What should I expect when the operation is over?

  • You will be moved into the recovery area
    • This area is equipped to monitor patients after surgery
    • Many patients feel groggy, confused, and chilly when they wake up after an operation
    • You may have muscle aches or a sore throat shortly after surgery
    • These problems should not last long
    • You can ask for medicine to relieve them
    • You will remain in the recovery room until you are stable
  • As soon as possible, your nurses will have you move around as much as you can.
  • You may be encouraged to get out of bed and walk around soon after your operation.
    • You may feel tired and weak at first
    • The sooner you resume activity, the sooner your body?s functions can get back to normal

What things do I need to know before I go home?

  • Your health care provider will go over any instructions on diet, medicine, and care of your incision
  • You will be told what things or activities you should avoid and for how long
  • You should know who to call if you have a problem and what things you should call your health care provider about, such as a fever or increased vaginal bleeding

How long will it take to recover?

  • Major inpatient surgery will take a month or more before you are ready to resume your normal schedule
  • Minor operations require less recovery time, but you may need to cut back on certain activities for a while

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