General Pre- & Postoperative Instructions
In the hands of experienced anesthesiologists and nursing staff, anesthesia is generally safe, even for long surgeries. Preoperative evaluation by your primary care provider is mandatory for identifying any risk factors for anesthesia. Depending upon the age and general health of the individual, blood work, X-rays, and EKGs may be necessary prior to surgery; however, each patient must be assessed individually. No matter how small or extensive the procedure may be, patients are monitored closely before, during, and after surgery. One of our skilled staff members will accompany you until transfer to our recovery room staff. To help ease your anxiety, request a pre-op tour of the surgery center whenever possible.
Day Before Surgery
To minimize the risk of aspiration pneumonia, patients are not allowed to eat solid foods at least 8 hours prior to the scheduled time of operation. As a general rule, we advise you to avoid eating after midnight. Clear liquids, however, can be taken up to two hours prior to surgery. Water, apple juice, cranberry juice, and jello qualify as clear liquids. However, milk and orange juice are not considered as clear liquids.
Please call our office before the scheduled day of surgery if you are experiencing an illness or vomiting. Sometimes, even minor complaints such as a runny nose or sniffles may cause problems during surgery. For these reasons, the doctor or anesthesiologist may recommend postponing surgery.
Day of Surgery
When you arrive in the preoperative area, you will be welcomed by one of our operating room nurses. Your anesthesiologist will ask some questions regarding your general health and any family history of reactions to anesthesia. He or she will explain the planned anesthetic procedure and obtain your consent. This is a great time to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have. The nurse will start an IV line in the preop area. A light sedative may be given to help with anxiety and make for a more pleasurable experience.
You will then be taken to the operating room where the anesthesiologist will begin general anesthesia. A medication will be injected into your IV to go to sleep. This will only take a few seconds. A plastic tube (called the endotracheal tube or a laryngeal mask) will then be inserted into the airway once you are fully asleep. Your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygenation, and other vital signs will be constantly monitored. This experience is gentle and smooth. Surgery will then begin.
Once the operation is finished, your surgeon will talk to you and your family member in the recovery room. Recovery from general anesthesia is relatively quick. Once you are awake, the recovery room nurse will administer pain and/or anti-nausea medications as needed. It is normal to have some nausea and vomiting for several minutes after surgery, depending on the type of operation, your age, and your personal tendency for nausea and vomiting.It is common to remain in the recovery room between 20 minutes and 2 hours before going home or transferring to your patient room (if planning for postoperative hospitalization).
You will likely have bandages in place as well as the possibility of drains, depending upon the type of surgery. Your surgeon will review what to expect ahead of time and go over postoperative restrictions. These restrictions will vary widely depending upon the type of surgery and are tailored individually to maximize excellent postoperative scar appearance and optimal results. Generally, contact sports, heavy lifting, and aggressive exercising are avoided for 2 to 6 weeks, but light activities such as walking are permitted. Your surgeon will outline your specific postoperative restrictions ahead of time and again after surgery.
Followup in the office will occur usually within the first week following surgery.