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Hospital Surgery Guide

Read through our Hospital Surgery Guide to better understand how to prepare for your surgery and recovery.

It is our commitment that you receive the highest level of care possible. Before and after your surgical procedure, the quality of your care is essential to us.

What to Bring With You

Outpatient Surgery

If your surgery has been scheduled for same-day surgery, you will be going home after your procedure - once your pain is controlled and you can tolerate oral fluids. It is essential that you arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery; because you may be receiving narcotic medications, you will be considered an “impaired” driver. So please arrange for someone to drive you home.

Inpatient Surgery

If you are staying overnight in the hospital, you may bring the following:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste.
  • Comb or brush
  • Deodorant
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Shampoo & personal hygiene products
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to wear home
  • Robe and slippers with non-skid soles
  • Magazine or book
  • Personal electronics (e.g., cellphone, iPad, laptop, etc.)

Day of Your Surgery

No Make-Up or Nail Polish
Make-up should not be worn on the day of your surgery because it could cause irritation or scratches to your cornea. During your surgery, your oxygen levels will be monitored with a probe on your finger. Please remove nail polish before your surgery.

  1. Check-In
    When you arrive at the hospital, you need to check-in at the front desk and report to the surgical department.

  2. Arriving at the Surgical Unit
    You will be assigned a private room and asked to empty your bladder and/or bowels when you arrive. You will be given a hospital gown and asked to remove all clothing. All of your clothes and belongings will be placed in a hospital-provided bag and put under your personal stretcher.

  3. Sign Your Consent Forms
    You will be asked to sign an informed surgical consent verifying the procedure that your surgeon has scheduled for you. If you have any questions, please ask your nurse at this time.

    • I.D. Bracelet: An ID bracelet with your personal information will be verified by you and the nurse or CNA and placed on your arm to identify you throughout your stay.
    • Vital Signs: Your vital signs will be checked before your surgery. This includes blood pressure, respiration, pulse, temperature, and oxygen saturation.
    • Intravenous Line: The preoperative nurse or anesthesiologist will start an “I.V.,” a catheter inserted into your vein. This will be used for UIDs and medications administered before, during, and after your surgery.
  4. Surgical Preparation
    If required, the admitting nurse or CNA will shave the areas of your body at the site of your surgical incision. Shaving the hair helps decrease the number of bacteria on the skin. It is important that this is performed immediately before your surgery and NOT done by you the night before.

Anesthetic Options

Before your surgery, an anesthesiologist will evaluate your medical condition(s) and discuss available anesthetic options with you.

  • General Anesthesia
    You will be unconscious and have no awareness. During anesthesia, you will be carefully monitored, and your physiological functions will be optimized for your surgery.
  • Spinal Or Epidural Anesthesia
    Your lower body will be insensitive to pain after the anesthesiologist injects an anesthetic into the epidural space or spinal fluid.
  • Regional Anesthesia
    Your anesthesiologist makes an injection near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake or be given sedation.
  • Local Anesthesia
    The anesthetic drug is injected directly into the specific tissues of your surgical site.
  • Medications
    You also will be interviewed by a registered nurse assigned to your procedure. The nurse will ask several questions that may have already been asked of you. This is a standard hospital precaution to verify that your preoperative information is accurate. You may be given medications ordered by your anesthesiologist.

Inside the Operating Room

After you are transferred to the OR table, monitors will be placed on your body to measure your pulse, B/P, and oxygen level. You might also receive pneumatic stockings on your lower legs to help circulate your blood. After you are asleep, a warming blanket will be placed on you to help keep you warm during your surgery.

Your Surgical Team is comprised of:

  • The Surgeon: Performs your operation.
  • Assistant Surgeon: If needed, assists your surgeon.
  • Anesthesiologist: Keeps a patient comfortable and pain-free during surgery by administering a local or general anesthetic.
  • Circulating Registered Nurse: Ensures that all needed equipment and supplies are available; assists the anesthesiologist and attends to all of your personal needs.
  • Operating Room Technician: Prepares the surgical instruments and equipment and delivers them to the surgeon during your operation.

Your Surgery Recovery

Immediately after your surgery, you will be transported to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). There you will receive oxygen either by nasal cannula (in your nose), mask (covering your mouth and nose), or humidified face tent (mask blowing humidified oxygen).

What to Expect

A nurse will be near your bedside always. Your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse rate, and oxygen saturation) will be monitored as well as your overall condition.

You will be asked to take several deep breaths. This will help you get rid of the anesthetic gases (if general anesthesia) to wake you up faster. You will also be asked several times to take deep breaths to help clear secretions from your air passages. You might be given a breathing spirometer to help you breathe deeply.

If you are an inpatient, you will be transferred to an assigned room in the appropriate unit designated for you.


This is a critical time for your nurse to monitor and focus on you. No visitors will be allowed to visit you during this time unless you are a parent of a small child. Then only one parent at a time will be allowed into the PACU.

No other relatives will be allowed to visit. Once you are awake and have met immediate PACU criteria, you will be transferred to the discharge area within the surgical unit for additional monitoring and then sent home when you are ready.

Your immediate family may visit you at this time, and your home caregiver will be asked to review discharge instructions with you and your nurse because you may still be drowsy. If you have any questions after discharge, please call your attending surgeon.