What You Need to Know Before and After Your Operation
Standard Pre-Operation Instructions
To ensure the most comfort with your anesthesia experience and to secure the best surgical results and ease of recovery, you will be provided with pre- and post-operation instructions prior to your procedure. Instructions may vary depending upon the procedure, type of anesthesia used, and patient’s health. Your doctor may request that you be seen by your primary physician or other specialist to obtain surgical clearance. Patients with significant medical problems may also be required to see a specialist to receive further testing (lab work, EKG, other diagnostics, etc.) to obtain additional surgical clearance.
In most cases you will be advised to continue taking all medications (heart, high-blood pressure, chronic pain, seizure or tremor) prescribed by their doctor up until the day of surgery. These should be taken only with a sip of water. Exceptions may include:
- Coumadin (warfarin)—typically stopped five days before the procedure unless your doctor instructs otherwise.
- Aspirin and Plavix (clopidogrel)—your primary physician and surgeon will determine the best option for their use prior to the procedure.
- Insulin—Those who are insulin dependent should not take their morning insulin, but should bring it with them for administration after the procedure. Those who take long-acting insulin in the evenings on a regular basis, should only take half of their regular dose the night before the surgery. Non-insulin dependent diabetics should not take any oral diabetic medications on the day of surgery prior to the procedure.
You should not eat any solid food for at least six hours prior to your surgery and no thick liquids after midnight. Avoid alcohol and tobacco the day before your surgery. Lighter liquids, such as water, apple juice, soft drinks, tea, coffee and clear broth, can be consumed in small amounts up to two hours before surgery, but do not add milk to your coffee or tea.
Wear comfortable clothing and leave your jewelry at home (though wedding bands and small earrings are allowed). Once you arrive at the surgical site, you will be provided with a gown to change into and socks to keep your feet warm. Just prior to surgery your vital signs will be monitored and your pre-op nurse and anesthesiologist will provide a last pre-brief on what to expect and assess what else you might need to ensure your continuing comfort.
Standard Post-Operation Instructions
The timing of your post-operation recovery period at the surgical office will generally depend upon the type of procedure performed. During this time you will be provided with something to eat and drink and you will receive another briefing on post-operation instructions. At this time you should also schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon. Along with plenty of rest and minimal activity, recommendations typically include contacting your doctor if:
- The surgical site becomes painful, discolored, or swollen.
- You experience persistent bleeding.
- You experience persistent pain or serious discomfort despite pain relievers prescribed or recommended by your doctor.
Specialized Pre- and Post-Operation Instructions
Some medical specialty procedures come with additional pre- and post-operation instructions.