If you are about to undergo your first surgical procedure, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to expect and how to prepare. These preparation guidelines will help you know what to expect so that you can feel more relaxed and comfortable on your surgery day.
Outpatient or “same day” surgery is a surgical procedure that does not require a hospital stay. You can have surgery and then return home the same day. Most of our outpatient surgery procedures are performed at Green Mountain Surgery Center or Northwestern Medical Center. These are both small facilities that are easy to navigate and very convenient for patients. Minor procedures that do not require anesthesia can be performed in our small private office.
Before your surgery, you must stop eating and drinking for 8 hours, with the exception of clear liquids, which may be consumed until 2 hours before surgery. An empty stomach decreases the risk of aspiration and lung injury during anesthesia, so if you do accidentally eat or drink something, let your nurse or doctor know. They will either make the necessary adjustments to the anesthesia plan or reschedule your surgery. It may feel frustrating to have to reschedule, but your safety is the most important thing to keep in mind.
You may also need to take a COVID test the week before your surgery to ensure everyone’s safety in the hospital or office.
The night before surgery, bathe with antibacterial soap or chlorhexidine to remove bacteria from your skin and decrease the risk of post-operative infection. When you get ready on the morning of your surgery, do not wear any makeup, hair products, or deodorant. Small particles of makeup can scratch your eyes while under anesthesia and certain hair products are flammable, which is dangerous in the operating room. These products can also trap bacteria and make your skin more difficult to clean on surgery day. You should also remove your nail polish. Doctors will need to see your natural fingernail to check your circulation. Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to take on and off and if you have long hair, tie it up in a ponytail. Jewelry, contacts, retainers, and tampons can also not be worn during surgery. If you are on your period, this will not impact your surgery, but you should wear a pad since this is safer to wear during the extended time you will be waiting for and recovering from surgery.
On the day of your surgery, you will arrive about 1 hour before the procedure. The surgery center typically calls patients 1-2 days before surgery to give a specific arrival time. On the morning of surgery, women will be given a urine pregnancy test. This is a mandatory test that must be done even if you are not sexually active. Other personal questions may be asked about things like alcohol and drug use. You need to answer these questions honestly so that your surgery and anesthesia can be performed safely.
You will change out of your clothes and put on a hospital gown to wear during your surgery and recovery. Your clothes will be placed in a bag with your name on it and you will also be given an ID bracelet with your name, birth date, and the name of the procedure you are receiving. Doctors and nurses may check your ID multiple times but don’t worry; this is normal, and the multiple checks ensure that the correct operation is being performed on the right person.
The pre-operative holding area is where you will wait before your surgery. Your nurse or anesthesiologist will start an IV by inserting a small plastic tube into your hand with a needle. Once the needle is removed, the tube will deliver fluids and medication into your bloodstream to hydrate you and help you relax. If you are afraid of needles, let your nurse know so that they can help keep you calm during the IV insertion. You should also inform your surgical team if you have family members who have had problems with anesthesia so that they can prepare for this possible complication.
When your doctor and surgical team are ready, you will be wheeled into the operating room and attached to a heart monitor with three sticky white patches on your chest. If you are undergoing general anesthesia, you will receive more medicine through your IV and drift off to sleep. Local anesthesia only numbs the specific area being treated and you will be awake during the procedure. If you do have general anesthesia, the surgery will feel like it only took minutes before you wake up in the recovery room.
After your surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room where your nurse will watch over you until you wake up. They will monitor your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. It is common to feel cold after surgery so don’t feel shy about asking for an extra blanket. Your nurse can also give you something drink if you are thirsty. Anesthesia may leave you feeling drowsy or unsteady when you wake up. This is normal and is not a cause for concern. Once you are fully awake, you will be able to return home and rest for the remainder of the day.
At Mountain Lake Plastic Surgery, you can rely on exceptional care and medical treatment. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your upcoming surgery, please don’t hesitate to call our office or contact us online.