After Surgery

What to Expect After Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

After surgery you will be moved to the recovery area. Your surgeon may speak to your family and/or significant other in the waiting room. Recovery and discharge times will vary depending on the procedure. The recovery room nurse will provide your family/visitors with updates.

Parents of minor patients (age 17 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 are not permitted in the immediate postoperative recovery area, but your visitors will be notified when they can come to see you after surgery or when you have been moved to your 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/mobility
  • 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 or by taxi/rideshare service without adult accompaniment (age 18 years of age or older).

Patient experience survey

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

Additional information

If your family members would like hotel discount information, please call 312.926.7666. If you have questions regarding financial concerns, please call our financial counseling team at 800.423.0523.