Preparing for Outpatient Surgery
The Day Surgery Unit on Northwest Hospital’s main campus and the Northwest Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center serve patients who have surgical procedures and return home on the same day. This allows for minimal disruption to your personal routine and promotes rest and recovery in the comfort of your own home.
The following information will you prepare for your day surgery experience.
Before Your Surgery
- Inform your physician about any past surgery or major illness you have had.
- Make a list of any medications you take including the name, dosage and frequency you take it. Also include in your list any nonprescription drugs that you may be taking including vitamins and herbal supplements. This information will be helpful to your physician and will help expedite your preadmission process.
- Ask your physician to clarify any aspect of surgery you do not understand.
- Ask your physician if you should stop any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication prior to your surgery.
- If there are special instructions, ask your doctor to write them down for you.
- Arrange your postsurgical activities to allow yourself time to recover. This time will vary with the type of surgery you have and your body’s response. Ask your physician when it is reasonable for you to return to work and to your normal exercise routine and activities.
- Arrange transportation home. You must have a responsible adult drive you home or accompany you in a taxi.
- Arrange for someone to be with you the rest of the day. Have someone else assume the care of those people who are dependent upon you. The length of time you will need such assistance will vary.
- You will receive two phone calls from Northwest Hospital.
You will receive two phone calls from Northwest Hospital before your surgery. The business office will call to ask you about your insurance and other finance-related information.
The surgery pre-admission nurse will also contact you to:
- Provide information about what to expect while you are in the Outpatient or Day Surgery Unit
- Ask you health-related questions regarding your current medications, allergies, previous illnesses and surgeries
- Confirm any diagnostic tests you will need before or after surgery
- Answer any questions you may have.
If you have not heard from the outpatient surgery nurse two days prior to your surgery, please call 206-368-1010.
The Day of Surgery
It is very important that you follow the instructions your physician and the nursing staff have given you about eating, drinking liquids, taking your medications and smoking before surgery. When you have anesthesia, consuming even small of liquids or solids beforehand can cause serious complications. If you do not follow these instructions, your surgery may have to be postponed.
- Wear comfortable clothing, such as a sweat suit.
- After surgery you may need to pick up a prescription. There is a convenient drive-through pharmacy on the Northwest Hospital campus, located in the McMurray building.
- Shower the night before or the morning of surgery. Do not wear makeup and avoid powders, lotions or creams on or near the surgical area.
- Brush your teeth before surgery but avoid swallowing any water. Do not chew gum or take breath mints or hard candy after midnight the night before your surgery.
During Your Surgery
A family member or friend can be with you in the pre-surgical area before surgery and in the recovery area after surgery. They can be included in your discussions with the medical staff regarding your care following surgery, if you wish.
You will have an opportunity to speak with your anesthesiologist before you have surgery to answer any questions you may have about anesthesia.
When You Are Ready to Go Home
Your departure time depends on the type of anesthetic and type of surgery you have and how your body reacts to both. If you are not feeling well enough to go home, your physician may admit you to the hospital overnight.
You can speed up your return to your “normal” self by resting, following the activity restrictions that the nurses and your physician have given you, and taking your medication as ordered.
Your physician or nurse will give you instructions about how to care for yourself once you are home, and who to call if you have problems.
After You Are Home
Do not drive a car, operate machinery, cook, drink alcoholic beverages or make important decisions for up to 24 hours after your surgery. The anesthesia and other medications stay in your system and make it unsafe for you to perform these activities. A nurse will call you within 48 hours of your return home to follow up on your recovery.