What to expect on your day of surgery

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Now that you have chosen to have surgery, here is what to expect before and during surgery!

First, for 10 days prior to surgery, if you have any pain or discomfort anywhere, try to only use acetaminophen or Tylenol. Avoid medications like Aspirin, Advil, Motrin Ibuprofen or even Pepto-Bismol. These medications can cause intraoperative bleeding or post operative bleeding issues. As a general rule, if unsure, just use Tylenol only.

Second the hospital will call you a day or two prior to surgery to let you know what time to arrive. After midnight the night before and on that morning, nothing to eat or drink. Take your medications with a tiny sip of water. I would shower and brush your teeth only that morning.

When you arrive to the hospital at the front desk, let them know you are having surgery today. They will direct you to the check in area. From there, you may have to do some paperwork. Then you will meet the nursing staff, the anesthesiologist, myself, and possibly the nurse anesthetist. You will get an IV, and an IV antibiotic likely. Nursing will also take your vital signs. Consents are then signed by the you and the anesthesiologist for the administration of anesthesia, as well as by you and I for your surgery.

Once consents are signed, then we head back to the operating room (OR). Depending on your procedure, you may receive some medication to relax through the IV. If so, you will be able to speak and interact, but you may not remember much of your interactions. In the OR, you will meet the whole team again. One staff member will be placing calf compressors on your calves to help prevent blood clots while you are asleep. Another staff member will place a blood pressure cuff on your arm to check your blood pressure. The anesthesiologist will place electrodes on your chest to check your heart rhythm during surgery. Then they will remove your mask and place an oxygen mask over your mouth and nose. This is a signal that you are about to receive anesthesia through your IV. Within 10-30 seconds, you will be falling asleep, and the anesthesiologist will let you know exactly what they are doing at that time. Once you are asleep, you will receive a breathing tube, and once we are done with surgery, but before you are aware and wake up, the breathing tube is removed. You do not feel it going in and out, but you are left with a sore throat for 1-2 days. It will fade fast, and you will not any restrictions on eating and drinking because of this. Now that you are fully asleep, your surgery will commence.

Once your surgery is done, you will be awoken, and taken to the recovery room. Likely, you will be there for a period 45 – 90 minutes, depending on how you feel. You may receive something to eat or drink there, depending on your surgery. I will speak to your family member or whomever you designate as your close contact. Once you have met criteria to leave the recovery, they will coordinate with your contact for pickup.