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Your Surgery

Arrival

Park in the visitor's parking lot and use the front entrance of the hospital. There is free valet parking available between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm if you choose to utilize the service. Please check in at the front desk, even if you have pre-registered. Your hospital registration process will be completed at this time. You and your family will then be shown to the Surgery waiting room. The Pre-Operative nurse will bring you and your family back to the Pre-Operative unit where they will guide you through the admission process.

Surgical Admission

In Surgical Admissions, you will be prepared for surgery. Any final instructions will be given to you and any questions you have will be answered. You will change out of your street clothes and into a hospital gown. It can sometimes feel cold in the hospital while in one of our gowns so there will be warm blankets and warmers available for your use.

A Pre-Surgical Assessment, a review of your health history, surgical and anesthesia consents will all be completed in the Pre-Operative Unit at this time. All medications that you are taking will be reviewed - it is helpful to bring a list of your medications along with the doses that you are currently taking. Here, an IV will be started for medications used in the Operating Room. In addition to your Pre-Surgical Nurse, the operating room nurse, surgeon and anesthesiologist will also be asking you questions to enable them to provide you with the best care possible. You will be asked the same questions several times. This is a very important step for us so that we can assure that nothing is missed.

In the Pre-Operative Unit you lie on a stretcher (a specialty patient bed) and you will be taken to the Operating room on the same stretcher. You will be asked to move from the stretcher onto the operating table. The nurse will put a safety belt on you as a precaution since the operating room table is narrow and you may be medicated. You will be asked to breathe oxygen through a mask to increase the amount of oxygen in your body before the anesthesia is administered. The Anesthesia Provider will inject medication into your IV which will make you feel very drowsy and you will most likely remember very little after this point. The Anesthesia Provider will be there the entire surgery to continuously monitor and care for you.

Operation

After you are asleep, the nurses and technicians position your body on the operating table, and prepare your skin with a special antiseptic to decrease the chance of infection. Sterile surgical drapes will be placed over your body, leaving only a small window over the surgical site through which the operation will be performed.

During surgery you will either be asleep or under sedation. If you are under sedation you may be awake enough to communicate with your Anesthesia Provider. Medication will be injected into the surgical site so you will not feel the pain. When you awaken your surgical site will have a bandage, cast, brace or some other type of wound protector specific to your surgery. You will receive instructions on your care once you are ready to leave by your post- operative nurse.

While you are in surgery, your family will be shown to the waiting room. They will be given a pager so if they would like to walk around or leave for a period of time we will be able to reach them. We will also get a cell phone number from them so that we could update them as needed. Once surgery is completed they will be shown to a consultation room where the surgeon will be able to update them on your surgery.

Recovery Room

If you have received general anesthesia (asleep) you will be taken to the recovery room (PACU) until you are awake enough to breathe on your own. You will have oxygen on, delivered by mask or nasal tubes. You will also have heart monitor pads on your chest and a pulse monitor on your finger.

You will remain in the PACU for one to two hours where you will be closely monitored. During this time, pain control will be established and your vital signs will be monitored. Your PACU nurse will also make sure that you are not nauseated and are breathing without difficulty.

If you have received sedation you may go directly to the post-operative unit. Depending on your surgery, you may go home from there or if you are staying overnight you will be transferred to one of the hospital units. Please bring comfortable clothing because you will want something that is easy to put on after surgery. If you are having a surgery where you will have a cast or a brace make sure that your clothing will be able to fit over it.

On the Floor

The staff will be monitoring your incision, your vital signs and your pain level. Specific procedures will have a block placed prior to surgery and you may not be able to feel anything for several hours. Blocks are not the indicated for all surgeries. There will be pain medication ordered either through your IV or via a patient-controlled analgesia pump (PCA). The machine will not allow an overdose to occur and keeps track of the number of times the button is pushed and the total amount of narcotic administered. Oral pain medications may also be ordered for your pain.

The nurses will be in your room frequently to check your vital signs. They will repeatedly remind you to move your feet and ankles, breathe deeply, cough and use your Incentive Spirometer. It is important that you begin doing this immediately, to prevent pneumonia. You will also be asked to change positions in bed frequently. You may be asked to stand and even walk the day of surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything the day of surgery. This includes gum, cough drops, etc. This is very important for your safety during your surgery. You can bring lip balm to the hospital with you if you wish.

Family and Friends

Sometimes, surgery does not start on time, or may take longer than expected. These situations are not cause for alarm. The actual surgery does not take place for about 2 hours after admission to the hospital. There is a patient tracker board for your family in the waiting room that will allow your family to see where you are in the process once they have gone to the Operating Room. The Operating Room Nurse will come up with a communication plan to update you. Your doctor will come to the waiting room to talk with your family. Your family and friends will be allowed to see you after you are brought to your room.

Our surgery waiting area is located just steps outside of our operating room at the far north end of wing 5. Your family and supporters are welcome to wait there. We have a representative stationed in the area to help answer questions and provide updates. Light refreshments are available for free. Restrooms and a private consulting room are located just across the hall.