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What happens on the day of surgery?
It is important that you know precisely what time you are to check in with the surgical facility, and that you allow sufficient preparation time. Bring all papers and forms with you including any preoperative orders and history sheets. You should wear comfortable loose fitting clothes which do not have to be pulled over the head. Leave all jewelry and valuables at home. Remove all make-up with a cleansing cream. Thoroughly wash your face with soap and water. Do not apply make-up or cream to your face.
Do not take any medication unless instructed by your doctor or the anesthesiologist. Usually in the pre- operative holding room, a nurse will start an intravenous infusion line (IV) and you may be given a medication to help you relax.
What happens during surgery?
In the operating room, the anesthesiologist will usually use a mixture of a gas and an intravenous medication to put you to sleep and to maintain your anesthetic at a safe and comfortable level. During the procedure, you will be continuously monitored including blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation (pulse oximeter), and heart rhythm (EKG). The surgical team is prepared for any emergency. In addition to the surgeon and the anesthesiologist, there will be a nurse and a surgical technician in the room.
Depending on what is required and whether or not you are also undergoing additional procedures, the surgery may take several hours. Your doctor will typically come to the waiting room to talk with any family or friends once you are safely to the recovery room.
What happens after surgery?
After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where a nurse will monitor you. You will be able to go home the same day as the surgery once you have fully recovered from the anesthetic. This usually takes several hours. You will need a friend or family member to pick you up from the surgical facility and to take you home. He or she should spend the first night after surgery with you. When you arrive home from the surgical facility, you should go to bed and rest with your head elevated on 2-3 pillows. By keeping your head elevated above your heart, you can minimize edema and swelling. You may get out of bed with assistance to use the bathroom. It is best to eat a light, soft, and cool diet as tolerated once you have recovered fully from the anesthetic. Avoid hot liquids for several days. Even though you may be hungry immediately after surgery, it is best to go slowly to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting. Occasionally, you may vomit one or two times immediately after surgery; if it persists, your doctor may prescribe medication to settle the stomach. It is important to remember that a good overall diet with ample rest promotes healing.
You will be prescribed antibiotics after surgery, and should finish all the pills that have been ordered. Some form of a narcotic will also be prescribed (typically hydrocodone/Vicodin), and is to be taken as needed. If you require narcotics you are cautioned not to drive. In some situations your doctor may give you steroids to be taken either preoperatively and/or post-operatively. It is very important that you take this medication as prescribed, and not discontinue it prematurely. If you have nausea or vomiting post-operatively, you may be prescribed medications for nausea (anti-emesis), such as phenergan. If you have any questions or you feel that you are developing a reaction to any of these medications, you should consult your doctor. You should not take any other medication, either prescribed or over-the-counter, unless you have discussed it with your doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/28/2014