Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Will I need any tests before my surgery?

Your physician or anesthesiologist will discuss any pre-operative tests (pre-ops) that you will need before to the date of your surgery.

Can I do anything to ensure I have the proper procedure on the correct surgical site?

Your safety is our primary concern. Your entire health care team will follow rigorous guidelines regarding site identification and procedure confirmation. National Patient Safety Goals have been developed which require your involvement too: You will be asked numerous times to confirm both the procedure you are having and the surgical site. You should take a very active role in all discussions with your physician, your anesthesia provider and our staff regarding the identification of your procedure and the correct surgical site. In most cases, your surgeon will clearly mark the site prior to your procedure.

What can I do to avoid a surgical site infection?

Take a shower the night before and the morning of surgery. Follow these simple steps:

  • Wash your hair first with any shampoo
  • Wash all of your body using a liquid antibacterial soap and a clean washcloth for each shower
  • Rinse well to remove all soap
  • Dry your body with a clean towel
  • Do not use lotion, cream or powder
  • Do not shave or clip the area where the surgery will be done unless your physician directs you to do so

Make sure you, your family, and any other caregivers wash hands frequently while at the facility and at home following your surgery. Do not hesitate to ask members of your health care team at the facility if they have washed their hands!

Be sure you follow all instructions provided by your health care team regarding the care and cleaning of your surgical site, as well as the administration of post-operative medications and bandages.

Are there special considerations for a child having surgery?

We understand that surgery can be frightening for you and your child. The pre-operative call with the facility nurse is a great time to arrange a tour of the facility to ease any fears you both may be experiencing. If your child would like to have a stuffed animal or security blanket for added comfort, feel free to bring these items on the day of surgery.

For young children having surgery, it is best to have someone ride along with the driver to help care for the child on the trip home. If you experience any health changes between your most recent visit with your physician and the date of surgery, notify your physician immediately. Please report even minor changes, such as an elevated temperature, cough, or cold. If you cannot reach your physician, please call the facility.

Will I see my physician before and after surgery?

Yes. The nature of most procedures will require that you and your physician confirm both the specific type of procedure you are having as well as the surgical site of that procedure. However, it is important to keep in mind that the amnesia effects of anesthesia may cause you to forget this visit, as well as other parts of the pre- and post-op time.

What if I think I might be pregnant?

Please be sure to notify your physician, anesthesiologist, and nurse prior to the date of surgery if you think you may be pregnant. The surgical procedure, anesthesia, and medications may be harmful to a developing baby.

Can I smoke?

No. We advise against smoking on the day of your procedure. Smoking may interfere with the anesthesia and frequently produces nausea during the recovery period.

Can I eat or drink prior to surgery?

It is important to refrain from eating or drinking prior to surgery in order to prevent the risks of aspirating gastric contents (complication related to vomiting) during your surgery. This complication may be very serious. Specific instructions based on national safety standards will be provided to you prior to your procedure. It is very important that you follow the provided instructions. If you do not, your surgery may be delayed or cancelled.

What will happen if I am not well enough to go home?

Admissions to a hospital from a surgery center happen occasionally. In certain circumstances, your physician or anesthesiologist may determine that you need to be transferred to a hospital for additional post-operative care.

What if I am not feeling well once I get home?

If you are in serious pain or exhibit any of the warning symptoms described in your discharge instructions, please call your physician, go to the nearest emergency room, or call 9-1-1.

What can I eat when I get home?

Your surgeon may have specific recommendations for your post-operative diet. We generally suggest that you eat lightly after surgery, and strongly encourage you to drink plenty of fluids. You should avoid alcoholic beverages.

Why is it necessary for someone to drive me and stay with me?

Due to the effects of anesthesia, even "light" sedation, you will not be allowed to drive home after your surgery. In addition, you must arrange to have someone designated responsible for you for 24 hours after your anesthesia to keep you safe. If you have not arranged this prior to arrival in the surgery center, your procedure will be cancelled. It is also important that someone be with you at the facility in case of unforseen issues that could arise during your surgery and decisions needing to be made on your behalf.

How will my pain be managed?

The management of your pain is of great importance to us. We will be assessing your level of pain from the time of admission until you receive a post-operative call at home. During your stay at the facility, you will be repeatedly asked to rate your pain using a numerical scale (1-10), or for children, a "Faces Pain Scale".

We will often use a combination of approaches to help you remain as comfortable as possible: Oral medications, intravenous medications, nerve blocks, injection of local anesthetic during the surgery, etc.

Prior to the surgery, the management of your pain should be discussed with both your anesthesiologist and surgeon. Please feel free to bring up any concerns or fears you may have. Remember that information on pain management gives you the appropriate expectations and hence a smoother, more comfortable recovery. It is important to follow instructions regarding your post-operative pain medication closely. Many pain medications take 20 to 30 minutes to begin to work. For best results, the pain medication should be taken before the pain becomes too strong.

Can my family be with me after surgery?

Yes. After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area. A nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are comfortable as the anesthesia begins to wear off. Once you are awake and alert, your family will be invited back to the recovery area. Special arrangements are made for children having surgery.

Should I continue my usual medications after surgery?

Most patients should continue their usual medications after surgery. Patients who have diabetes and those patients on blood thinners may require some adjustment of their medications. These instructions will be clarified with you before you leave the facility. If you have any questions, please call your surgeon or primary care physician.

How long will my surgery and recovery take?

Surgery times are often difficult to predict, because each patient and each case is different. After your procedure, a nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are alert and stable. You will be sent home as soon as your health care team feels it is safe to discharge you from the facility. Please consider this as you plan your day; you may not be guaranteed a specific time for discharge to attend to other appointments or responsibilities.