Day of Surgery

What to Expect on the Day of Surgery

On the day of your surgery:

  • You may take your regular medication (unless your surgeon or pre-operative nurse told you otherwise). Take these medications as directed, with only small sips of water
  • If you are diabetic, follow your doctor's guidelines about your insulin
  • Do not have anything to eat or drink. Do not swallow anything, including the water you use to brush your teeth
  • Remove any makeup before surgery. During surgery, we will check your circulation by looking at your skin, so it should not be covered by makeup

Arriving for Your Surgery

Please arrive at the surgery site as instructed by your surgeon's office or the pre-op nurse. If you were not given a specific arrival time, please arrive 1 1/2 hours before the time of your surgery.


Visitor and valet parking options are available at:

Pre-surgery preparation and visitors

Once in the pre-op room, we ask you to change into a hospital gown. You must also remove glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, dentures and hairpieces before you go to the operating room (OR). In preparation of surgery:

  • The nurse will review your medical history and take your temperature, blood pressure and pulse. Be sure to tell the nurse the exact time you last had anything to eat or drink
  • We will place an IV line in your hand or arm so we can give you fluids and medicines. Based on your specific needs, antibiotics or other medicines may be given. To prevent blood clots, you may also wear sequential compression devices (SCDs). SCDs gently squeeze your calves every so often to copy the muscle movement that happens when you walk
  • If you are a woman under the age of 60, we may perform a pregnancy test
  • Your surgeon, anesthesiologist, or primary care doctor, as well as residents, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants and medical students may visit. (If you have already met with the surgeon and anesthesiologist, you may not see them before your surgery. If you do have questions for them, please ask your nurse.)
  • A member of the surgery team will:
    • Confirm the type of surgery you are having
    • Mark the surgery site (if needed)
    • Review the plan for anesthesia
    • Ask about any past problems you may have had with anesthesia

We make all efforts to begin surgery at your scheduled start time. But there might be a chance that your surgery starts sooner or is delayed.

Before your surgery starts, your surgeon will tell you and your family how long your surgery is expected to last. Once you are in the OR and have received anesthesia, your surgery will begin.

Visitor guidelines

While in the pre-op room two adult visitors may be with you at a time. To maintain your privacy, we may ask visitors to leave the room when we ask you personal questions about your health.

Other visitors can wait in the family waiting room. Visitors may not go with you when you are moved to the OR.


Anesthesia is a short-term absence of feeling. The anesthesiologist and the surgeon will talk with you to plan the type of anesthetic that is best for you. This is based on the surgery and your medical history. There are five types of anesthesia that may be used, including:

  • Local anesthesia: A numbing medicine injected around the site of the incision. It causes a lack of feeling at the incision area only. The rest of the body is not affected. You will be awake during surgery. The surgeon gives this type of anesthetic only when operating on a small part of the body
  • Monitored anesthetic care: Both a local anesthetic at the incision site and IV medicine to relax you (sedation). It produces a sleepy state. You can be aroused but otherwise sleep. Due to the IV medicine, you may not recall your time in the OR. Once surgery is over, you will be fully awake
  • Nerve block: A type of local (regional) anesthesia used for arm or leg surgery. Numbing medicine is injected close to a nerve. The nerve block numbs the entire limb. Sedation or a light general anesthesia also may be given. This allows you to sleep and to be unaware of what is going on around you during surgery. Depending on the surgery, your limb may be numb for 24 to 48 hours. This numbness is also helpful in managing post-surgery pain
  • Epidural or spinal anesthesia: A numbing medicine that is injected into the mid or lower back. All of the nerves going into the incision area and nearby areas are numbed. This absence of sensation (feeling) is limited to one region (localized). With a spinal, you may have a lack of feeling from the waist to the toes. Feeling returns in a few hours. Sometimes, patients have trouble urinating after an epidural or spinal. This is normal and usually lasts only a short time
  • General anesthesia: May begin with an IV medicine and often also includes breathing anesthetic gases mixed with oxygen. You are not aware of the surgery or your surroundings. A breathing tube may be placed into your windpipe to help you breathe during surgery (this is why some patients have a slight sore throat on the day after surgery)

Be sure to tell the anesthesiologist about any crowns, bridges or loose teeth you may have so that extra care can be taken.

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