Pre-Op Patient Guide

Day of Surgery

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.

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 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.

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