A Patient and Family Guide To Surgery and Anesthesia
Thank you for choosing us to manage your care. Your comfort and safety are our top concerns. You and your family are the most important members of your care team. You will need to take an active role in your care. Be sure to ask questions and learn all that you can about your surgery. If you have any safety concerns, tell a nurse as soon as possible. The page will be a guide for what to expect and how to have the best outcome for your surgical procedure.
This page is for information only. It does not replace the advice of your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s advice.
Withing 30 Days
Schedule an exam (“History and Physical”) with your family doctor. We may give you some forms for your doctor to fill out. Make sure they send the report to your surgery center. Tell your doctor if:
- You have a pacemaker or ICD (cardiac defibrillator). Bring the ID card to surgery.
- You have an implanted stimulator (deep brain, bladder, spinal cord, etc.). Bring the remote control to surgery.
- You’re a smoker. People who smoke have a higher risk of infection after surgery. Ask your doctor how you can quit smoking.
If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to control your blood sugar. If it’s not well- controlled, we may need to delay surgery (or you may have problems healing afterward).
If your surgeon asks you to see your dentist: You’ll need to complete any dental work before surgery. Your dentist must send a letter to your surgery center saying it’s okay to do the surgery.
Call your insurance to see what it will and won’t pay for. Ask if they need to pre-approve the surgery. (If no insurance, call 612-672-2000.)
Is your surgery in Minneapolis? If so, you may have your exam at the Preoperative Assessment Center (PAC). Call 612-676-5008 to schedule.
At Least 10 Days Before Surgery
Register for your surgery: Go to fairview.org/reg or call 612-672-2000. Have your insurance card ready. (Skip this step if you’ll have surgery at University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center.)
Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery. If you’ll go home the same day as your surgery, you may not drive, take a cab or take public transportation by yourself.
Arrange for someone to stay with you for 24 hours after you go home. This person must be a responsible adult, 18 years or older.
Complete an advance directive, if you wish. This tells us what treatment you would want—and who would make health care decisions—if you could no longer speak for yourself. You may download the form from www.fvfiles.com/1628.pdf, or request a copy from your surgery center.
A Few Days Before Surgery
If you take medicine: You may need to stop it until after the surgery. Follow your doctor’s orders.
A nurse will call to review your health history and surgery instructions. (This call is not about your insurance details.) If you don’t get a call by the evening before your surgery, please call your surgery center.
Call your surgeon’s clinic if there’s any change in your health. This includes signs of a cold or flu (sore throat, runny nose, cough, rash, fever).
The Day Before Surgery
Don’t smoke, chew tobacco, drink alcohol or take over-the-counter medicine (unless your surgeon tells you to) for 24 hours before and after surgery.
Take a shower or bath the night before surgery. Follow the instructions your clinic gave you. (If no instructions, use regular soap.) Put on clean pajamas and use clean bed sheets. Plan your surgery day If you have questions on the day of surgery, please call your surgery center.
Take another shower or bath in the morning. Follow the instructions your clinic gave you. If no instructions, use regular soap.
After your bath or shower, put on clean, loose clothing.
Don’t put on makeup, powder, deodorant, lotion or cologne. Remove all jewelry and piercings.
Bring these items with you:
- Medical and prescription cards
- Money or credit cards for parking and co-pays, if needed.
- Your advance directive, if you have one.
- A list of all the medicines you take. Include vitamins, minerals, herbs and over-the-counter drugs. Note any drug allergies.
- Your inhaler, eye drops and CPAP machine, if you use these at home.
- Remote control for any implanted stimulator.
Leave at home: All medicines (except inhalers and eye drops), extra cash, jewelry, other valuables.
Eating and Drink Guidelines
For your safety, it is very important to follow your orders for eating and drinking. If you did not receive specific orders, use the guidelines below.
Why is this so important?
During surgery, the muscles that keep food and liquid in the stomach will relax. If there’s anything in the stomach—even a small amount—it may get into the lungs. This can cause a serious infection.
We want to keep you safe. If you have even a small amount of food or drink after the allowed time, we may need to delay or cancel the surgery.
When to stop food, liquids and medicines
All foods and liquids—whether by mouth or feeding tube—must be finished by the times noted below (unless you received special instructions). A nurse may call to explain the exact times you must stop eating and drinking.
- Eat and drink as usual until 8 hours before surgery. After that, no food, milk or chewing tobacco.
- Keep drinking clear liquids until 2 hours before surgery. These are drinks you can see through, like water, clear juice, and black coffee or tea (without milk or cream).
- Nothing by mouth within 2 hours of surgery. This includes gum, candy and breath mints.
- Ask the care team if it’s safe to take your medicine the day of surgery. If so, take it with a small sip of water.
Day of Surgery
When you arrive, you will:
- Check in. If you’re under age 18, you must be with a parent or legal guardian.
- Receive a copy of the Patients’ Bill of Rights. If you do not receive a copy, please ask for one.
- Change into surgery clothes.
- Meet with your care team. The surgeon will explain the surgery again. He or she may also mark the site where the surgery will be done. The anesthesia team will tell you what kind of anesthesia (medicine) they’ll use to keep you comfortable during surgery.
- Be asked to sign a consent form. This form states that you allow the surgeon to do the surgery. Before you sign the form, be sure to ask any questions you may have. Keep asking questions until you understand the answers.
Remember: It’s okay to remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands before touching you. For safety reasons, we will ask you the same questions (like your name and birth date) many times.
Family can stay with you until it’s time for surgery. Then, they will move to the waiting area. Note that cell phones are not allowed in some areas.
We will move you to the operating room. If you have questions about what will happen here, talk to your care team.
You will move to a recovery room, where we’ll watch you closely. If you have pain or discomfort, tell your nurse. He or she will try to make you comfortable.
If you’re staying overnight, we will move you to your hospital room after you’re awake. If you’re going home, we may move you to another room. Friends and family may be able to join you.
The length of time you spend in recovery depends on the type of medicine you received, your medical condition and the type of surgery you had.
A nurse will check your comfort level often during your stay. He or she will work with you to manage your pain. Remember:
- All pain is real. There are many ways to control pain. We’ll help you find what works best for you.
- Ask for pain medicine when you need it. Don’t try to “tough it out”—this can make you feel worse. Always take your medicine as ordered.
- Medicine doesn’t work the same for everyone. If your medicine isn’t working, tell your nurse. There may be other medicines or treatments we can try.
We’ll let you know when you’re ready to leave the surgery center. Before you leave, we will tell you how to care for yourself at home and prevent infections. If you don’t understand something, please say so. We will answer any questions you have.