Preparing for Surgery
You’ll have a preoperative exam to make sure you’re well enough for treatment. If we find a serious issue, we may need to delay surgery until your health improves. Better health before surgery leads to a better outcome after treatment.
Follow these rules to prevent problems during surgery:
- Stop smoking at least two weeks before your procedure. Chemicals in cigarette smoke slow your body’s healing process.
- Stop taking ibuprofen, aspirin, and other over-the-counter blood thinners two weeks before surgery. If you take prescription blood thinners, your surgeon will tell you when you should stop taking them.
- Stop drinking alcohol at least one week before surgery. Alcohol makes it harder for your body to stop bleeding after a cut or surgical incision.
- Visit your dentist for a cleaning if you haven’t had one in the past year. Ask your dentist to check for cavities or gingivitis (gum disease). Your surgeon may ask you to get treatment for inflammation or infections in your mouth before surgery.
- Do not eat or drink the night before surgery. You can take medications with small sips of water if necessary. If you have food in your stomach before surgery, you’ll feel more nauseous when waking up from anesthesia.
Read all the handouts your surgeon provides so you feel confident and informed. Call your surgeon’s office with any questions. Your care team is happy to help you prepare for surgery.
Day of Surgery
After you check in at the hospital, we’ll take you to your room. Keep personal items like eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids in your room or ask family members to hold onto them until after surgery. Family can stay with you until you go to the operating room.
Before surgery, you’ll receive an IV (tube placed in a vein) and medication to help you relax. A nurse will give you ice chips if the medication makes your mouth dry.
In the Operating Room
You’ll receive general anesthesia to make you sleep and prevent pain. Your surgeon may also give you an anesthetic in the form of a nerve block, which reduces pain after you wake up.
Surgery will likely take three to four hours.
Waking Up After Surgery
You’ll go to the intensive care unit (ICU) after treatment so nurses can monitor your condition. It may take several hours to wake up, depending on your age, health and other factors.
When you regain consciousness, you’ll have:
- Tube going from your windpipe to a ventilator that helps you take deep breaths
- Tube going through your nose to your stomach to reduce nausea and bloating
- Bladder catheter so nurses can monitor your urine output and make sure your kidneys are removing extra fluid from your body
- Tubes inserted to drain fluid from your chest
- Line in a blood vessel in your arm to check blood pressure continuously