Surgery From Pre-Admission Testing to Recovery
1. Pre-Admission Testing
Before you have surgery at FMH, you may be asked to participate in a telephone evaluation or come to the hospital for pre-admission testing. During this appointment, a nurse will ask you many questions about your medical history and will record all medications that you take at home.
It is very important that you bring all of your medications with you, including herbal supplements.
During the telephone call or pre-admission appointment, the nurse will tell you more about what to expect the day of surgery. You may have an EKG (tracing of electrical activity in the heart), x-ray, or other appropriate tests if they have been ordered for you. We encourage to you ask questions and to share with us any concerns that you might have. You can also request a surgical unit tour and register for the Prepare for Surgery class at this time.
2. What you should do at home before surgery
If you develop a fever or illness before surgery, you should notify your surgeon right away. On the day before surgery, it is very important that you do not eat or drink after midnight (including gum and candy). Your stomach should be empty to help prevent complications with anesthesia. You should take a shower before you come to the hospital to help prevent infection. Please remove all jewelry and piercings before coming to the hospital to prevent injury from the use of electrical devices during surgery.
No one can drive after surgery because anesthesia can hinder reflexes and motor ability. We care about your safety, and therefore require that you arrange to have someone drive you home and stay with you immediately after surgery.
You should collect your insurance and prescription cards and have them ready to bring to the hospital. If you have a pacemaker, you should also bring your identification cards.
Instead of parking in the parking lot, we invite you to use our free valet parking service between the hours of 8:00am – 4:00pm.
Once inside the hospital, you will be greeted by someone from our information desk and directed to the Surgical Unit. Our staff will register you and verify personal information. Throughout the day, nurses and other hospital staff will ask for your name, date of birth, and what surgical procedure is being done. This is to prevent mistakes and keep you safe.
Once you have registered, a nurse will again review your medical history and any medications that you take. This is to be sure that nothing has changed since your pre-admission testing. The nurse will then take your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and listen to your heart and lungs. An IV will be started.
The anesthesiologist will talk with you about which anesthesia is best for you. There are many different types of anesthesia, including:
General Anesthesia: Medications are given through an IV and inhaled through a breathing mask to cause a deep state of sleep.
Spinal Anesthesia: Numbing medication is injected into your back to numb the lower body. This is often used with medication to cause relaxation and drowsiness or a lighter sleep.
Regional Anesthesia: Numbing medication is injected to numb a particular area of the body. This is also often used with medication to cause relaxation and drowsiness or a lighter sleep.
Monitored Anesthesia: Medicine is given through an IV to put you into a shallow sleep. You are still breathing on your own.
We encourage you to have your visitor stay with you before surgery. Questions are always welcome.
5. Just before your surgery
Your Surgical Team will wheel you to the Operating Room (OR) on a stretcher. Your visitor or family member(s) will be asked to wait in the Day Surgery Waiting Area.
We provide pagers for visitors who wish to leave the hospital.
You will notice that the Operating Room is chilly. We will place warm blankets on you to keep warm. You will be connected to monitors and oxygen.
6. Post-Surgery Recovery Room
After your surgery, you will be brought to the Recovery Room and a nurse will closely monitor you until the effects of anesthesia wear off. You will be connected to oxygen and a monitor that checks your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level. Your nurse will ask you about pain and will give you medications through your IV as needed. Some patients may experience nausea. If this happens to you, please let your nurse know. We know that surgery can cause discomfort, and our nursing team wants to make you as comfortable as possible.
Most patients spend about 30 to 90 minutes in the Recovery Room. When effects of anesthesia have worn off, you will return to the Post-Surgery Nursing Unit. We will be sure to keep your family members informed about you and your condition while they wait for you to return.
7. Post-Surgery Nursing Unit
When you return, your visitors or family members are welcome to stay with you. To reduce the risks of complications from surgery and anesthesia, we will encourage you to get out of bed as soon as possible with the help of your nurse. You will be given something to drink. When you’re ready, we will slowly introduce food.
Once you are eating, your nurse may give you a pain pill as needed. It is important that you let your nurse know how you’re feeling so that they can make you as comfortable as possible.
When your doctor and nurses are confident that you can safely return home, we will provide you and your visitor or family member(s) with information about your care at home. Your doctor may also write you prescriptions for medication.
8. Inpatient Surgery
For those surgical procedures requiring an overnight stay, you will be transferred to an inpatient nursing unit until you are ready for discharge. Our team will make sure that your belongings move with you and that your family members are kept well informed of your status and location.
9. Post-Surgery care at home
When you get home, it is important that you take your medications as prescribed. We encourage you to begin walking and to take deep breaths, as this will help you heal more quickly. You should drink plenty of fluids and eat food as you feel able. A nurse will call you at home one to two days after your surgery to check on you and to answer any questions that you might have. You are always welcome to call your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.