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What to Expect the Day of Surgery


Before surgery, staff will provide you with hospital clothing, an ID bracelet, and an explanation of what to expect in the surgical area. They will ask you a number of questions and initiate the paperwork needed to provide your care during your hospital stay. Your family and/or significant others are welcome to stay with you until you are taken to the operating room. Your belongings may be stored in a locker if you are here for outpatient surgery. If you will be admitted to the hospital, your belongings should be sent home.

Before you are taken to the operating room, an anesthesiologist will ask you a few more questions, help you decide which type of anesthesia is best for you and ask you to sign an anesthesia consent form. Your surgeon will review the type of surgery to expect and any potential complications. If not done ahead of time, you will be asked to sign a surgery consent form. Anesthesia may be administered here or in the operating room.

For Your Safety

The ID bracelet you will receive upon arrival with your name and birth date must be worn at all times during your stay. Staff should always ask you to state your name and birth date and should check your ID bracelet before giving you medication or performing any test or procedure. If you leave your room for anything other than a scheduled procedure, please let your nurse know where you will be.


In the pre-operative area, you will be asked to confirm what procedure you are to have and where on your body it should take place. The site of your procedure should always be “marked” prior to surgery.

Once in the operating room, our team will also call a “time out” to perform additional checks to ensure your safety. Your skin will be cleansed with an antimicrobial agent and shaved if needed. All body areas will be draped except the part that will be operated on. Your anesthesiologist will be at your side and your surgeon will guide the team though the actual operation. Depending on the length and complexity of your surgery, a number of other team members will be present. The care team may include nurses, surgical residents, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, surgical assistants, surgical technicians, and patient transporters.


Once the surgery is complete, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). You will be continuously monitored by a nurse until you are fully awake and alert and you will be instructed about activities and exercises that you may need to perform during this time. You are kept in the PACU until you are stable enough to be moved; this decision is made by your anesthesiologist.

Depending on the type of surgery and your post operative condition, you will proceed to the Post-Surgical Nursing Unit, or home.

everyBODYmoves Mobility Initiative

Mobility and exercise are important parts of your recovery. Movement decreases your risk for blood clots, infections, bed sores and constipation, and movement can improve your mood and appetite. If you are an inpatient, your care team is here to help you heal, which includes helping you stay upright and active. Together, you will set a mobility goal each day to reach your highest level of mobility.

At home after surgery

For more detailed surgical information be sure to visit our Joint Academy, Spine Academy and Anesthesia pages.

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