After Surgery

What to Expect After Surgery

After surgery you will be moved to the recovery area. Recovery time varies with each patient. Your surgeon may speak to your family and/or significant other in the waiting room. About every two hours, they will also receive updates about your condition.

Parents of patients age 18 or younger may be with their children in the recovery area once the patient is settled.

Please understand, due to many safety and privacy-related issues, visitors of adult patients may not be in the recovery area. The waiting room receptionist will let your visitors know when you have been moved from recovery to either:

  • The outpatient surgery center
  • Inpatient hospital room (if planned/needed)


If a hospital stay is not needed, your nurse will assess your readiness to go home. Before going home, you may be given a prescription for pain (if needed) as well as specific guidelines about:

  • Incision care
  • Diet
  • Activity
  • Medication (including any new prescriptions and if you should continue any medications you were taking prior to your surgery)
  • When to call the doctor
  • 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. You cannot leave by taxi or rideshare service.

Patient survey

We want to know what you think about the care you received at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to help us learn how we can better serve our patients.

Shortly after you return home, you will receive a survey in the mail. Please take the time to complete and return it in the postage-paid envelope provided.