Preparing for My Surgery
We are committed to providing you with the finest care available, because your health is our first priority. We also wish to make your surgical procedure as comfortable and pleasant as possible.
Having a surgical procedure can be stressful for you and your family. Therefore, knowing what to expect will often make this easier. This section of our website provides you with information you will need to prepare for your procedure. We encourage you to ask questions any time. You and your family are important to us and we value your input into your plan of care.
Our doctors perform surgery at Perry Hospital, Houston County Medical Center and Coliseum Hospital as well as nearby day-surgery facilities. When surgery is scheduled, you will be given a time for a pre-op appointment to discuss the specifics of your surgery.
Planning for your surgical procedure and knowing what to expect will help you feel more comfortable. The following information will help you in preparing for the procedure:
- Call your insurance provider as soon as your procedure is scheduled.
- Plan for someone to stay with you at home at least 24 hours after your procedure.
- Have someone drive you to and from the hospital or surgical center. You will not be able to drive yourself home or take a bus or cab alone.
- Complete all necessary insurance pre-authorization for diagnostic and medical treatment.
- Limit visitors to one or two people the day of admission.
- Our staff will help arrange for any equipment or home care you may need.
What to Bring
- Insurance information/cards and co-payments.
- Health care proxy (can obtain forms at hospital).
- Loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.
- A list of medications you take daily.
- One small suitcase or less. Space is limited so pack lightly.
- Your own pillow if it makes you more comfortable.
What to Leave at Home
- Large sum of money and credit cards.
- Jewelry and any other valuables.
- Make child care arrangements for small children to stay at home.
Preparing for Your Procedure
Depending on your procedure, insurance coverage and doctor's recommendation, you may or may not be admitted to the hospital. You may have outpatient surgery at a nearby surgical clinic or day surgery at one of the hospitals in which we practice. You may also be admitted for one or more days depending on your procedure. This will be discussed with you during your pre-op appointment.
If you want to donate blood for your procedure let your doctor know as soon as possible. If you have donated your own blood for your procedure notify the nurse/physician on admission. See Blood Transfusions for more information
Before the day of your admission an appointment will be made for a medical history and physical exam, signing of your consent form and any necessary testing. If the person is an adult and unable to give consent, the legal guardian must either be present or send authorization for treatment. Proof of legal guardianship is required.
Screening Tests: Tests may be done before your procedure (blood work, urine test, electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or chest x-ray). The results of these tests give the doctor additional information about your health status.
Exam: A physical exam will be done before your procedure. You will be asked about allergies, past or present medical illness, and any surgeries or hospitalizations you have had. A written list of current medications and the dosages that you are taking is helpful to the doctors and nurses who are planning your care.
Your weight and vital signs, which include your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and respirations will be measured during your exam and throughout your stay. These vital signs give the doctors and nurses important information about you.
You will receive instructions about preparation before the procedure and aftercare instructions. Please ask at this time if you have any concerns about any of the instructions. This may mean such things as child care, work limitations, or home care needs.
An anesthesiologist, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant will meet with you to discuss your anesthesia.
You will be asked to sign an operative permit before your procedure. This permit is the legal document consenting to the procedure. You are encouraged to read this document carefully and ask questions about any part of it before signing. When you sign the document, it will be witnessed by someone other than the doctor doing the procedure.
Before Your Procedure
Arrive at your scheduled time. Remove all jewelry, makeup and nail polish before going to the hospital or surgical center.
Diet: Most often you can eat your usual evening meal, and may eat and drink until midnight. You are not to eat or drink anything after midnight. This is called "NPO." You are also not to chew gum, have any hard candy or throat lozenges. You may receive special instructions to take medications. If so, this must be done with a SIP of water.
Bathing: You should take a shower or bath before your procedure. Special soap may be required to disinfect your skin.
Smoking: Smoking can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your procedure. You are encouraged to stop smoking as soon as possible or at least one week before your procedure.
The Day of Your Procedure
Where to Report: Please report on time to the pre-arranged location. This information will be provided to you in advance by our support staff.
Operating Room: You will be taken to the Operating Room (OR) about one half hour to one hour before your scheduled time. Emergencies may cause some changes in the schedule and there may be delays. The operating room staff members wear face and head coverings and special clothes to keep the operating room clean and germ-free. You will also wear a head covering. It is necessary to keep the rooms in the OR cool for the same reason. Ask for a blanket if you should feel cold. Although everyone may look very busy, ask any questions that you may have.
Types of Anesthesia
General Anesthesia: With general anesthesia you will be in a deep sleep. A tube may be placed in your throat to help you breathe. This tube is generally removed before you are awake. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat after the procedure.
Regional Anesthesia: With this type of anesthesia an area or a region of your body, such as an arm, is "numbed." You will be awake but will be given medicine to make you drowsy. You may be able to hear the doctors and nurses throughout the operation. You will not feel any pain. Feeling to the "numbed" area will gradually return within a few hours after the procedure. One of the most common types of regional anesthesia is Spinal.
What to Expect After Your Procedure
Recovery Room: After your procedure you will be brought to the recovery room. The recovery room is an open room where you go immediately after the procedure until you are ready to go to your room. In the recovery room you will be watched by a nurse as you recover from the procedure and anesthesia medicine. You may be connected to monitors and receive oxygen. Your vital signs will be taken often and you will be asked to take deep breaths.
Controlling Your Pain: Our goal is to control your pain and make you comfortable. We will monitor your pain and give you medication as needed. The nurse will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10. One being the least amount of pain and 10 being the most. This will help the nurses determine how much medication to give you.
Pain medication can be given in pill form, by injection, or intravenously. You may also control your own postoperative pain through the use of Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA). PCA allows you to safely control your pain by pressing a button to receive your pain medication. A machine holds the pain medication ordered by your doctor. It is connected to your existing intravenous (IV) line. This machine is computerized so you cannot give yourself too much medicine. When you press the button, you will receive enough pain medicine to give you relief in a short period of time. Not all patients can have PCA so you might want to ask your doctor or nurse about it.
Diet: The food you can eat is decided by the type of procedure you have had. Anesthesia and the pain medicine you are taking tend to slow the natural wavelike movements of the intestines. Your doctor will generally order a liquid diet first, so your stomach does not get "upset." Drink the liquids slowly and in small amounts. Once you can tolerate the liquid diet, you will be advanced to your regular diet or a special diet. You can request special food based upon ethnicity or cultural preference. You are well on the road to recovery once you are eating, able to urinate, and have a bowel movement.
Expectations After Your Procedure
After the procedure you will be watched closely by the nurses. Your vital signs will be checked frequently even at night. Remember, recovery from any procedure is made easier by your efforts to get well. After your return home, your body will still be healing. Keep in mind it may take some time before you are back to your old self again or better. Before your discharge you will receive instructions about follow-up appointments.
Coughing, Deep Breathing and Turning
Coughing, deep breathing and turning are important because they can help prevent you from getting any lung complications.
When you turn, assume a position that you are allowed and that is comfortable. Turn slowly as the nurse helps you. A pillow may be positioned behind your back for comfort when you lie on your side. You should turn again in one or two hours.
Depending on where your incision is, deep breathing and coughing can cause discomfort. You may be given a breathing apparatus (Inspirex) and you should take 10 deep breaths using this every hour. Place the mouth piece in your mouth, inhale, and then exhale. It is important that you cough deeply and not just clear your throat. Deep breathing and coughing can help you clear secretions that may have settled in your lungs during the procedure. These secretions can cause infections like pneumonia.
Questions and Concerns
We hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask your nurse or doctor.