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Before and After Surgery

Before Surgery

Once your surgery date has been scheduled, you will be directed to the Pre-op Testing Clinic at ValleyCare (be sure to take your take your doctor's orders with you). The Pre-op Testing Clinic provides a centralized location for hospital preregistration, nursing assessment, anesthesia assessment, patient education and lab work including blood work, urine, ECG/EKG or any x-rays to be performed prior to surgery. This process takes approximately one hour. If your primary care physician or your surgeon provides you with lab work results or an EKG, please bring them to your Pre-op Testing Clinic appointment. Also, please bring your medications or an accurate list of medications so the Pre-op nurses may document them.

On the night before your surgery, please follow your surgeon's instructions. Especially important are the directions regarding when you can last eat or drink. If the planned surgery involves general anesthesia or sedation, please do not eat any food, candy or gum or drink any liquids after midnight. Doing so creates a risk of severe, life-threatening complications and may result in the cancellation of surgery. Many daily medications need to be continued on the day of surgery and may be taken with a sip of water. Others may be omitted for the day without consequences. All instructions will be given to you in writing.

Day of Surgery

If you are having outpatient surgery, you must arrange for someone to be with you upon discharge. Once the anesthesia has dissipated, grogginess can last several hours, making it unsafe to drive. You may also require assistance once you are home.

For inpatient surgery, you will be admitted to your room after surgery. For privacy reasons, your family or significant others will be given a "case number" to use when inquiring about you. The case number is used to keep your identity private. Your family will be informed of a room number once it is assigned.

On the day of your surgery, dress comfortably and please leave valuables at home. You will be asked to sign an informed-consent form acknowledging that you are aware of risks and complications and that the surgeon has explained the operation to you. The surgery will not proceed unless the consent form is signed. You will be asked to remove personal items (e.g., jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpieces, contact lenses, dentures) before surgery. This policy protects our patients and prevents items from being lost or damaged. Several staff will ask you many of the same or similar questions. While this may seem tedious, it is for your safety. The information is carefully verified to avoid any errors.

You will be escorted to the preoperative area before surgery. Your Pre-op nurse will get you ready for surgery, which may include starting an intravenous line (IV) and applying elastic stockings for you to wear. You will be weighed, your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature) will be taken and you will be asked to put on a hospital gown. The anesthesiologist will review your medical history with you, including information regarding medication used on a regular basis, drug allergies and prior adverse reactions to anesthesia. This information helps the physician select the most suitable anesthetic agents and dosages to avoid complications. The nurse responsible for your care in the operating room (OR) will also come to visit you prior to surgery and ask you questions that will help keep you safe in the operating room. The OR nurse will accompany you to the operating room.

After Surgery

After surgery, you will spend some time in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) or recovery room. The PACU nurses will help you awaken from your anesthesia. They will also medicate you for pain as needed. The amount of time spent in the Pre-op holding area, the operating room and the recovery room depends on the type of surgery performed, the type of anesthesia given and how long it takes the anesthesia to wear off after your surgery.