Arriving at CoxHealth

Your arrival time is different than your surgery time. Your surgery time is an estimate, not a guarantee. The surgery team will do their best to make sure you are informed in the event of any delays. Check for construction updates that could impact parking and other aspects of your visit to CoxHealth. Be sure to bring your yellow pre-op card and blood ID bracelet, if needed. Depending on the location of your surgery, or if pre-admitted by phone, you may not have a pre-op card.

Before Surgery

A family member or friend can stay with you while you wait to go to surgery, but there isn’t room for a large group of people. You’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown and socks. We’ll take your vital signs and your doctor may order additional laboratory tests. We will also start an IV to provide you with fluids and necessary medications. You may receive medication to help you relax. Warm blankets are provided for your comfort.

Before you enter the operating room, you will meet the anesthesiologist and other members of the surgical team.

In the Operating Room

You may notice a lot of activity in the operating room. The OR has bright surgical lights overhead and technical equipment in the room. Never hesitate to ask questions about your procedure or activity in the OR. You will be asked to confirm your name, your surgical procedure and the surgery site. 

What to expect:

  • Sticky patches placed on your chest will monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
  • A soft "finger probe" monitors the oxygen content of your blood.
  • An automatic blood pressure cuff squeezes your arm as it takes your blood pressure.
  • Occasionally, additional monitors are needed that allow the direct measurement of pressure in the blood vessels.
  • Depending on the type and length of your surgical procedure, a Foley catheter may be inserted into the bladder to drain your urine. 
  • You may have a drain in the surgical site.
  • When your surgery is over, the doctor usually meets with your family to let them know how you are doing and to answer their questions. 


Anesthesiologists are doctors who have completed specialty training in anesthesia. The anesthesiologists work with certified registered nurse anesthetists and anesthesia assistants as an anesthesia care team. The anesthesia care team will care for you the entire time you are in the operating room.

Types of Anesthesia

Local Anesthesia

Occasionally, your surgeon may choose to perform a procedure in the operating room that requires only local anesthesia. This involves the injection of medication into the surgical site to numb the area. This is done by your surgeon without involvement of anesthesia personnel.

Monitored Anesthesia Care 

During this type of anesthesia, the anesthesia care team gives you medications intravenously to make you drowsy and comfortable while monitoring your vital signs. Your surgeon provides “local” anesthesia to numb the surgical site.

Major Nerve Blocks 

This type of block may allow an entire extremity to be numbed for surgery. These techniques differ from local anesthesia in that the block is placed near large nerves traveling to the surgical area. Medications will be given to you intravenously to make you drowsy and comfortable during surgery. With some procedures, these may be used for pain control after surgery.

Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia

This type of block is accomplished by placing anesthetic medications into the spinal or epidural space to numb the lower body. The spinal anesthesia is particularly well suited for certain surgical procedures performed below the waist. The epidural is most commonly used for childbirth. With some procedures the epidural may be used for pain control after surgery.

General Anesthesia

This is the most common type of anesthesia used for surgery. You will be made unconscious prior to and during your surgery with intravenous medications. Anesthetics enter the bloodstream and are transported to the brain where they act on nerve centers to cancel pain impulses in the nervous system. A tube is inserted into the mouth or nose to maintain an open airway. When your surgery is finished, the medications are stopped, and you will begin to awaken from the anesthesia.

After Surgery

After your surgery you will be taken to the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit), also known as the Recovery Room. Or if medically necessary, you will be taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). However, if you have a local anesthetic with sedation you may skip the PACU and return to the Same Day Surgery area.

In PACU, a nurse will monitor your vital signs and you may receive oxygen to help you wake up. When you begin to wake up and your vital signs are stable, you will be taken to your room where your family or friend may be with you. If you have an outpatient procedure, you will be taken back to a room in Same Day Surgery and your family or friend may be with you then.

If you have a surgery requiring a hospital stay, your family or friend will be able to visit you once you have been transferred to a hospital room. After your surgery, your physician may choose a specific nursing unit that will help you with your recovery. The availability of hospital rooms constantly changes based on patient admissions and dismissals. Sometimes it is necessary for you to stay in the PACU until the right bed becomes available. Please be assured that at no time will you be without the care you need. The staff in the PACU area will continue your care until your room is ready. Because we want to ensure that each patient's privacy is protected, family and friends are not allowed to visit the patient in PACU. We will make every effort to keep you and your family updated concerning your condition and bed status.

On the day of surgery, your family or friends can check with the staff at the surgery waiting room desk for additional information. Your recovery time will depend upon the type of procedure you have undergone and the anesthesia used.