What to Expect

All hospital surgery patients, except those having only local anesthesia, will have a pre-anesthesia interview. Usually, this will be at the time of Pre-Admission Testing, where you will also receive pre-operative teaching. At this time, the staff will evaluate your medical history, perform an appropriate physical examination, and discuss your anesthesia care. You will receive instructions on what you may eat or drink before your operation as well as which medications you should take the night before and morning of surgery.

Please be sure to bring a list of your current medications and doses, prior anesthetics and any health problems you may have. You will receive a copy of our standard form for this information from your surgeon. The anesthesiologist conducting your pre-anesthesia interview may not be the same person taking care of you during your surgery. The complete assessment information from your pre-anesthesia interview will be available to the anesthesiologist responsible for your care. You are welcome to ask any questions you may have at the time of your pre-anesthesia interview. Patients with a diagnosis of sleep apnea who use a CPAP machine at home are required to bring their CPAP machine with them on the day of surgery.

Be sure to follow your instructions about eating and drinking and about which medicines to take before surgery. This is very important for your safety. Your surgeon will tell you what time to report on the day of surgery. After your name is taken at the desk, you will be instructed to take a seat in the waiting room. When you are called, you will be registered into the hospital computer and then be changed into an operating room gown and moved to a stretcher. If ordered by the anesthesiologist, you will receive pre-anesthesia medication to relax you before moving to the operating room (OR).

Depending on your operation and health, additional monitors may be used during your anesthesia. You might also receive a nerve block before starting anesthesia that will be used for pain control after your operation. If indicated, these will be discussed with you by the anesthesiologist. Your anesthesia is now ready to begin. Depending on the operation and your wishes, we may administer one of three types of anesthesia: monitored anesthesia care (MAC), regional anesthesia or general anesthesia.

Some options may be inappropriate for a given operation or patient. Following an operation, most hospital surgery patients are moved to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where specially trained nurses monitor your recovery. You will receive pain or nausea medications as needed as well as any other treatment that is indicated. One of our anesthesiologists oversees your recovery and personally visits each patient before PACU discharge. Once you return to full consciousness after the operation, you may either be prepared for discharge or, if you are staying overnight, you will be taken to your hospital room. Ambulatory patients are typically ready to go home one to two hours after their operation. Before you leave the hospital, one of the nurses will review your discharge instructions.