Day of Surgery

Once you arrive, you will be checked in and escorted to the preoperative holding unit. The staff in the Pre-Op Unit will prepare you for surgery. This includes starting an IV and scrubbing, shaving and marking your operative site. Your operating room nurse as well as your anesthesiologist will interview you. The anesthesiologist will discuss the available anesthesia options to you. He/she will also discuss the possible risks and benefits of each of those options. Together you will formulate a plan, but in general the available options are as follows:

  • Local anesthesia with IV sedation
  • General anesthesia
  • Regional anesthesia
  • Combination of anesthetics (ex. Regional anesthetic with IV sedation or light general anesthesia)

The surgeon will also meet with you prior to the surgery and mark the surgical site after answering any questions you might have. You will then be escorted to the operating room. Once you have gone to the operating room, your family member or friend may wait in the surgical waiting area.

While you are in the operating room, you will be under the care of the anesthesia care team. You will be given medications to ensure that you are comfortable during your surgery. Your blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen level, respiratory rate and temperature will be monitored to ensure your safety. After your surgery is completed, you will be transferred to the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit), also known as the recovery room, where you will be monitored by a team of PACU nurses under the supervision of the anesthesiologist. These nurses are skilled in post-anesthetic and critical care nursing. They will monitor your vital signs and pain level and resolve any side effects from the surgery or anesthesia. The length of time you will be in the PACU varies and typically ranges for anywhere from 1-3 hours.

Family will remain in the waiting room until the patient goes from Phase 1 to Phase 2. The typical wait time is around 45-60 minutes after surgery. Visitation in the PACU is limited to avoid the risk of infection to other patients, and to protect patient privacy. It is also necessary to ensure that PACU staff may focus on maintaining excellent clinical care to all the post surgical patients.

If you and your surgeon have planned for you to go home on the same day as your surgery, then once you are stable, comfortable and meet the discharge criteria, your IV (intravenous) will be removed and you will be able to get ready to go home. The PACU nurse will then review your post-operative instructions with you and your responsible adult companion. You will receive your pain medication prescription (if you have not already received them from you surgeon prior to the surgery) which should be filled on your way home or may be filled while you are in the recovery room. Finally, you will be escorted to your vehicle by our transportation team.