• Before Surgery

    Before Surgery

    • Scheduling your surgery with the surgeon’s office and the hospital or outpatient facility

    • Filling out the required paperwork from the facility or doctor

    • Reading and following your preoperative instructions

    • Medical Clearance if instructed by your doctor

    • Making sure that any tests ordered are done 1-2 weeks prior to the surgery

    • Stopping any medications as directed by your surgeon

    • Filling any necessary prescriptions

    • Making sure someone is available to escort you home


    What happens before I have surgery?

    Once your surgeon has recommended surgery and you have consented, there are three steps that you have to complete to schedule the procedure. These are confirming the date with the hospital or ambulatory surgery center, completing the required paperwork for the selected facility, and undergoing any required pre-surgical testing or evaluation.

    How soon should I schedule my surgery?

    Emergency or other urgent procedures must, of course, be scheduled as soon as possible—sometimes immediately after you are admitted. Elective procedures can be scheduled at your leisure, within reason.

    How will I complete all the pre-surgical paperwork?

    There is lots of necessary paperwork to schedule a surgery; however, a staff member from your doctor’s office should assist you in completing most of it. They should contact your insurance company to obtain pre-approval, and review your insurance coverage with you. If you aren’t sure, ask someone for help.

    What steps should I take before my surgery?

    Be sure to follow all dietary and drug restrictions from your doctors. Carefully read their instructions about alcohol, prescription medications, and non-prescription drugs like NSAIDS.

    Fill all prescriptions for medications that will be needed following surgery before you go in, and get any special items such as crutches, wheel chairs or surgical dressings that will be needed after surgery. Be sure to read surgical consent forms carefully and sign them, and if you are having a procedure that requires a blood transfusion, arrange to donate blood for yourself.

    What pre-surgical testing is necessary?

    Most surgical procedures require you to be cleared by your primary doctor. The general rule is that the older you are, the more testing you should expect. If you are over the age of 40 you will typically need blood tests, a urinalysis, an EKG (electrocardiogram), and a complete history and physical examination. If you are over 50, you will typically need medical clearance by an internist. Children who are having an elective procedure may only need a simple blood test and a urinalysis. If you’re confused, ask your doctor why a particular test is being done.

    Why do I have to arrive so early for surgery?

    Patients always want to know why they have to arrive so early in the morning. As with any business, time is money; in order to keep costs down for patients, the hospital tries to keep the operating room full from early in the morning until late in the evening.

    Moreover, getting patients ready for surgery takes time, and if there is a change or cancellation in the schedule, the hospital wants to be ready to move the next patient into the operating room without a significant loss of time.

    You will be given a hospital gown to change into and a bag to put all of your belongings into. Just getting you checked in and ready will take about 30-40 minutes or more!

    What is the difference between traditional and ambulatory surgical admission?

    Under traditional admission, you will be admitted at least one day prior to your surgery. Lab and radiology testing will be performed upon admission, and your physical examination will be performed by the attending or one of the hospital’s staff. Because of technological and other changes—i.e. insurance—this type of admission is increasingly unusual.

    For Ambulatory or Same Day Surgery Admission, you’ll likely have to fast starting at midnight the night before. You’ll arrive at the hospital or surgery center a few hours before the start of your surgery—if you have scheduled a morning surgery, this could be as early as 5 a.m. You’ll be examined, and if any of your vitals are abnormal your procedure may be cancelled. If you are at an Ambulatory Surgery center, you’ll go home soon after you recover from anesthesia. Same Day Admission at another location may require you to spend the night in a hospital room, however.

    What should I expect at the Ambulatory Surgical Center?

    The quality and organization of ambulatory surgery centers varies widely. Some can be highly luxurious, while others are relegated to older, less essentially buildings in a medical complex. Where you go often depends upon your insurance or the centers with which your doctor is affiliated. Ask your doctor where you’ll be going and do more research.

    What should I bring with me for ambulatory surgery?

    Always remember to pack light, bringing only what is necessary. Bring reading materials, but only books or magazines that can be easily replaced if lost. For an ambulatory admission, have an overnight bag packed and ready in the car just in case. Do not bring expensive luggage, clothing, jewelry or items with great sentimental value into the center. They could get misplaced or stolen. You should also leave other valuables, such as cell phones or tablets, with your loved ones.

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