After Surgery

What to Expect After Surgery at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital

After surgery, we will bring you to the recovery area. Your surgeon may speak to your loved ones in the waiting room.

Recovery and discharge times will vary depending on your procedure. The recovery room nurse will update your loved ones.

Due to many safety and privacy-related issues, we cannot allow visitors in the immediate post-operative recovery area. We will notify your visitors when they can come to see you after surgery or when you have been moved to your inpatient hospital room (if planned/needed).

Parents of minor patients (age 17 or younger) may be with their children in the recovery area once the patient is settled.


If you do not need to stay in the hospital overnight, your nurse will decide when you are ready to go home. Before going home, we may give you a prescription for pain (if needed) as well as specific guidelines about:

  • Incision care
  • Diet
  • Activity/mobility
  • Medication (including any new prescriptions and if you should continue any medications you were taking before your surgery)
  • When to call the physician
  • Whom to call with questions
  • Follow-up appointments

If you have any questions or concerns about your follow-up care, please ask the nurse.

Remember that you need an adult age 18 or older to take you home. You cannot leave alone or by taxi/rideshare service without someone who is age 18 or older.

Patient Experience Survey

Thank you for choosing Northwestern Medicine for your care. If you shared your email address with us, you may get a survey about your visit. Please take a few minutes to answer the brief survey. Your feedback is important to us. We appreciate you taking the time to let us know what you liked about your experience and what we can do better.

Financial Counseling

If you have concerns about paying for your care, please call our Financial Counseling team at 800.423.0523 (TTY: 711)