Answering Your Questions about Outpatient Surgery
Q. How long will my procedure take?
A. Although every procedure is different, in most cases, expect to spend three to four hours with us from the time you’re admitted until you’re able to go home.
Q. Will I be able to talk with my surgeon before my procedure?
A. Yes. Your surgeon will visit with you briefly before your procedure to see how you’re doing and to answer any questions you may have. After your surgery, he or she may stop by the recovery area to see you and let you know how the procedure went.
Q. Will I be able to speak with my anesthesiologist before my procedure?
A. Yes. The day of your surgery, your anesthesiologist will talk to you about what to expect during your procedure. He or she also will want to know if you have any health issues or concerns and will ask about your previous experiences with anesthesia.
Q. Will my family in the waiting room be kept informed of my progress?
A. Yes. We will let your family know when you are moved from pre-op to surgery, when you are moved into recovery, and when you are ready for discharge. A member of your family, or responsible adult of your choice, will be with you when you receive your discharge instructions and will then take you home.
Q. Will I be given something to eat or drink after my procedure?
A. Depending on the type of procedure you’ve had, clear liquids or a light snack may be provided if desired.
Q. Why do I need a ride home?
A. The medication you receive will impair your driving ability for 24 hours after your procedure, so it’s not safe for you to drive yourself home.
Q. Will I be able to recover by myself at home?
A. We ask that you have someone stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery in case you need assistance and to help you follow your post-operative instructions. We will call you the next day to follow up. If you experience any complications or unexpected side effects, please call your doctor.
Q. What should I wear to the Hospital or Surgery Center?
A. You will be most comfortable if you wear loose-fitting garments, like sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and low-healed comfortable shoes. As part of your preparation for surgery, we will give you a surgical gown to change into. You will need to remove all clothing, including undergarments.
Q. Why can’t I wear nail polish, jewelry, or piercings?
A. These restrictions are for your protection. The color of your nail beds tells us whether you’re receiving enough oxygen. If you are wearing nail polish, we cannot see your nail beds. Jewelry and piercings are not permitted because they can cause burns and other injuries if they are exposed to the electrical equipment in the operating room.
Q. Why can’t I eat or drink after midnight the night before my procedure?
A. The safest way to receive anesthesia is on an empty stomach. If you eat or drink anything, including gum or water, you increase your risk of complications. If you have mistakenly consumed anything after midnight—other than what your doctor or anesthesiologist has instructed— be sure to tell your anesthesiologist or nurse before the procedure.
Q. Should I take my usual medications the morning of my surgery?
A. This is a question for your doctor or nurse. Be sure to let him or her know exactly which medications you take. For each one, ask if you should take the medication as usual or if you should wait until after your procedure. If you are instructed to take medication, please use as little water as possible.
Q. Can I smoke before my procedure?
A. For your safety, our anesthesiologists ask that you not smoke the day of your surgery. Smoking increases risks and complications of airways during surgical procedures.
Q. Will my valuables be safe while I’m in surgery?
A. The safest place for your valuables is at home. Please do not bring anything of value—including cash and jewelry—to the Hospital or Surgery Center.
Q. Will I need to make a co-payment the day of my procedure?
A. The amount of your co-payment and when it’s due are determined by your insurance provider. Check with your insurer ahead of time so you know what to expect the day of your procedure.
Q. What is a healthcare proxy, and do I need one?
A. A healthcare proxy lets you appoint someone to act as your “healthcare agent” and make treatment decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. For your convenience, proxy forms are available in both the Hospital and Surgery Center. If you’d like one, just ask.