Your doctor may sometimes recommend surgery to treat your condition. Knowing what to expect on the day of surgery can decrease anxiety and help you actively participate in the treatment plan.
It is important to prepare yourself mentally and physically by understanding the whole process and your role. This can help ensure a smooth process with minimal complications.
Preparation on the Day of Surgery
Specific instructions regarding preparation for surgery will be provided by your surgeon. In general, this usually includes:
- Arrive at the hospital with a family members or friend one or two hours before your scheduled surgery so that there is enough time to prepare for the procedure.
- Avoid eating or drinking after midnight the day before surgery.
- Leave valuables and jewellery at home.
- Bring your medical and imaging reports.
- Inform your doctor in case you are taking any medications.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes. You may have to change into a patient's gown so that the surgery can be performed easily.
- Inform your doctor if you are wearing any prosthetics.
- You or your caregiver will have to sign consent forms and admission papers.
- Sedative medication may be administered to help you stay relaxed just before the procedure. You may also receive other preoperative medications. An intravenous line will usually be started.
- You will be taken to the operating room where the surgical team will be present, they include:
- Surgeon: This physician is the head of the team and performs the surgery.
- Operating room nurse: They are registered nurses who will assist your surgeon during the procedure and provide pre and post-operative care.
- Anesthesiologists: They are doctors who provide medications so that you won’t feel pain and maybe put to sleep while undergoing the procedure.
- Certified registered nurse anaesthetist: They will aid your anesthesiologist and will monitor you throughout the procedure.
- Surgical technicians: They help to clean, organize and sterilize the operating room and equipment to maintain a sterile environment.
- Based on the complexity of the procedure, a larger team may be present.
- You will lie on the operating table and anaesthesia is administered. The type of anaesthesia will depend on the procedure and may include:
- General anaesthesia: This type of anaesthesia is administered intravenously (through a vein) or is inhaled through a mask. You will feel sleepy and become fully unconscious during the surgery.
- Local anaesthesia: This type of anaesthesia temporarily numbs the specific part of the body that is to be operated on, but you will remain conscious throughout the procedure.
- Regional anaesthesia: This type of anaesthesia numbs a large region of the body while you are still conscious.
- The skin surface of the area to be operated will be shaved if needed and cleaned with an antiseptic agent.
- Your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing are continuously monitored throughout.
- After the surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be closely monitored and will awake if you were asleep for the procedure.
- Depending on the type of procedure you may be discharged home the same day or may need to stay a few days at the facility.
It is important to follow all of the post-operative instructions provided to you prior to discharge to ensure a successful outcome. You will also be provided with signs and symptoms to watch for and report to your doctor if they occur. Be sure to keep all follow-up visits with your doctor until you are completely healed.