Saturday, May 19, 2012

What To Expect The Morning Of Surgery

The day of surgery, you will usually be told to arrive at the surgery center/hospital 1-2 hours before your scheduled procedure. Once you arrive you will be registered (make sure you have all your insurance information with you) and you will receive an identification armband. Make sure the armband has the correct spelling of your name and your correct birth date. Once you have been registered, you will normally wait in the waiting room for a little while before being taken to the pre-op area.

Once in the pre-op area, they will give you a gown to change into. You may be asked to remove all clothing except for the gown. You will then be taken to a preoperative holding area and you will usually lie down on a stretcher (a rolling cart) or a recliner. A pre-op nurse will take your blood pressure, temperature, etc. They will review your medical and surgical history and they will ask you about what medications you are taking, if have had anything to eat or drink, and if you have any allergies. If you have a serious latex allergy, make sure everyone is aware of this - most surgeons and the surgical team wear latex gloves. This way the surgical team will know to wear non-latex gloves and use non-latex items.

Before going back to the operating room, you will also see an anesthesiologist and/or a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist), a circulating nurse, and you may or may not see your surgeon before going back. If you are having an operation of the "left" or "right", the surgeon will mark on your body the correct side that they will be operating on before you go into surgery. If you are having spine surgery, the surgeon might mark the level on your back before going to the operating room.

When an anesthesia care provider and the circulating nurse speak with you, they will ask you many of the same questions that you have already answered. This is NOT because there is a lack of communication between medical personnel. Everyone is required to ask you certain questions even if they already know the answer, this helps eliminate mistakes, helps to make sure all information is consistent, and helps to maintain your safety during and after the procedure.

The anesthesiologist, CRNA, or pre-op nurse will usually start an IV line in your arm. This will give you liquids to make sure you do not become dehydrated during surgery.

If you have not yet signed any consents, you will be asked to sign a consent for surgery, a consent for anesthesia, and you might be signing a consent for a blood transfusion. Remember; make sure you are comfortable signing these consents. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to get answers before signing.

After everyone has talked with you and all of your consents have been signed, you are ready for surgery. At this point, you may receive some medication through your IV line to help you relax. This medication will not "knock you out"; it will only help you to relax. Your family will probably now be allowed to come stay with you in the pre-op area until you go into surgery. Some hospitals/surgery centers may limit the number of family members that can be in pre-op with you.

Most surgeries do not run exactly on schedule due to multiple factors. Most likely, you will not be going to surgery at your scheduled surgery time. Your surgery may start a little later than scheduled, and occasionally you may head back to surgery ahead of schedule.

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