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When You Arrive at the Hospital for Surgery

When you arrive at the hospital for your surgery, you will be taken to a pre-operative area and asked to change into a hospital gown. A nurse will:

  • Perform an assessment
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Take your temperature
  • Take your pulse

Most patients need to have an intravenous catheter (IV) placed before surgery to allow fluids and/or medications to be delivered quickly and safely through a vein. A nurse or anesthesia provider will start your IV in the pre-operative area. When appropriate, you will be given an antibiotic through the IV to reduce the risk of surgical site infection. Some antibiotics, properly given, can greatly lower your chances of getting an infection after surgery. Your surgeon will identify whether antibiotics are helpful for your situation. When they are indicated, the antibiotics will be given within 60 minutes before surgery and stopped within 24 hours afterward in most cases.

Electronic clippers will be used to remove hair, if needed, at the site of your surgery. We no longer shave hair because infections can occur at small cuts caused by razors.

For your safety:

  • You will be asked to verify your name, procedure, surgical site, date of birth, and surgeon
  • If appropriate for your surgery, the surgeon may mark the surgical site with you (known as surgical site verification)

During Surgery

  • You will be taken to the operating room on a bed and given a surgical hat to wear.
  • You will be asked to verify your name, procedure, date of birth, and surgeon.
  • You will be moved to the surgical bed.
  • The operating room may feel cold. Operating room staff will offer blankets or other warming devices to cover you.

Your vital signs are facts about your health that can be measured and monitored over time. Throughout your surgical experience, your vital signs (which include temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and presence of pain) will be measured. In addition, the level of oxygen in your blood will be monitored. Most vital signs are measured constantly using automatic devices. But monitoring is more than just watching. If changes in your vital signs indicate a danger to your health or safety, the anesthesiologist will initiate appropriate treatment.

  • Cold, adhesive pads on your chest will monitor your heart rate
  • A cuff on your upper arm will monitor your blood pressure
  • A clip on your finger will monitor your oxygen level

Blood clots are more likely to develop while you are not moving during your surgery. The more complicated your surgery, the higher your risk for developing blood clots. Your doctor will know your risk and will take the necessary steps to help prevent clots, such as giving you the right medicine before your surgery.

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