Facing surgery can be stressful, but the experienced staff at Indiana University Health Paoli Hospital can make an uncomfortable situation a little easier. Learn more about:
What to Expect
On the day of your surgery try to arrive at the hospital early and go to the patient registration area at the front desk first. Once you've checked in there, you will go to the surgery department.
You'll have an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns before your surgery. Please talk about your feelings and ask questions, because it is important for you and your family to feel confident and calm about your surgery.
Make sure the staff knows about any allergies you may have even if you've been asked about it before. You will receive a consent form to sign. Take time to read it carefully and ask questions.
Take bath and wash your hair the morning of surgery. Long hair can be pulled back with a plain elastic band. No matter how clean your skin and hair are, they can still harbor tiny germs which increase the risk of infection. Your nurse may need to prepare the site of your incision. DO NOT shave the operative site yourself.
You will also have an IV inserted. An IV provides a way to get medication and fluid into your bloodstream. You may also receive medication to help relax you before you go into surgery.
Once you are in the Operating room, monitors will be attached to you that monitor your blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and hear rate and rhythm. You will be put to sleep, awakened when it's all over, then taken to the recovery room.
Your surgeon will speak with your family after the surgery and let them know how everything went. Your family will be called to see you when you are ready for visitors.
Expect some discomfort following surgery. Your surgeon will anticipate this and order medication to ease the pain. It is up to you to ask for pain medication anytime you feel you need it. People have different pain tolerance: only you know exactly when you need medication.
Pain medication can cause constipation, so drink plenty of water, increase your fiber intake and move about as much as you can. It can also make your stomach upset, so you might want to take it with food.
- If there is any change in your health one to two days before your surgery, such as cold, cough, or fever, let your surgeon's office or the surgery department know. Call 723-2811 or 800-999-4420 and ask for the surgery department if you have any questions.
- Do not come to the hospital alone. A competent adult should accompany you to the hospital and take you home. You could be given special instructions that would be difficult for you to remember after being medicated.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. You may brush your teeth and gargle but don't swallow it.
- Do not bring any valuables such as money, rings, or watches with you. Let your family member hold them or leave them at home.
- No make up or fingernail polish. Let us know if you have acrylic nails. Please inform us if there is any chance you may be pregnant.
- Contact lenses must be removed before surgery. Bring case and solution to put them in or wear glasses to the hospital.
- You should not drive or operate any machinery for at least 24 hrs after surgery. Have someone available to drive you home.
- Wear comfortable loose fit clothing. Consider where your incision will be and avoid tight or binding clothing for the trip home.
- If for any reason you decided not to have your surgery done, please notify the surgery department or may office by at least 2 p.m. the day before your surgery is scheduled.
- If you take heart or blood pressure medicines, take them with a sip of water when you get up the day of your surgery.
- If you take insulin shots or pills for diabetes, do not take them the morning of your surgery.
- If you are having a laparoscopic procedure, you will have a catheter inserted to drain your bladder before surgery. It won't hurt, although you may feel some pressure. You will need to take slow deep breathes to help you relax.
- If you are having general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, or IV sedation, you will have IV fluids started prior to coming to the operating room or in the operating room. You may also be given IV antibiotics to help prevent infection after your surgery.
- If you're not already an in-patient, you may be admitted as an in patient after your surgery you had and how well you recover.
- If you have been instructed to take a bowel prep, then you should start early the day before surgery.
- When your surgery is over, you will be taken to the recovery room. Your vital signs will be checked every 10 minutes. Your family will be allowed a brief visit if possible.
- After 30 minutes, or when your condition warrants inpatients will be returned to their room. Outpatients are kept until they are able to go home.
- After returning to your room, your vital signs will be checked frequently, until you are stable and then your family will be able to visit.
- You will be asked to cough and deep breathe often. If you are unable to get out of bed, you will be asked to change positions, cough and deep breathe at least every 2 hours.
- You will need someone to drive you home, and to assist you at home for at least for the first day, and maybe longer
- Stay on liquid diet if you are nauseated. As soon as the nausea is past, you may resume your normal diet unless the doctor instructs you otherwise. You may want to start with small amounts until you see how well you do with solid foods.
- If you have a dressing, keep it clean and dry. Ask your surgeon or nurse how to take care of it. Leave steri-strips in place. You may have to take a sponge bath for a while.
- Elevating injured limbs helps decrease swelling and throbbing, and decreases pain.
- If you have any problems, such as excessive bleeding, swelling, or uncontrolled pain call your doctor, the surgery department, or the Emergency Room.
- You should not do any lifting of more than 30 pounds for six weeks if you had hernia or open abdominal surgery. After laparoscopic surgery, you may lift after three weeks.1