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Your surgical experience will occur in four phases:
Before surgery, staff will provide you with hospital clothing, an identification wristband 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 there for outpatient surgery. If you will be admitted to the hospital, it is preferable that your belongings are sent home.
Your surgeon will review the type of surgery, potential complications and any alternatives. The anesthesiologist will help you decide which type of anesthesia is best for you. Both the surgeon and anesthesiologist will ask you a few more questions in preparation for your surgery. If you haven’t already signed a consent form, you will be asked to sign one now. While you wait to be taken to the operating room, an anesthesiologist will administer your anesthesia.
Once in the operating room, you will be prepped for surgery. The 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 throughout the surgery. 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 team may include nurses, surgical residents, physician's assistants, nurse practitioners, surgical technicians and patient aides.
Once the surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room. You will be continuously monitored by a nurse until you are fully awake and alert. Your nurse will explain the equipment and any dressings or tubes that were placed on you. You will also be instructed about your level of activity and any exercises that you need to perform during this period. You are kept in this area until you are considered stable enough to be moved; this decision is made by your anesthesiologist.
Depending on the type of surgery and your postoperative condition, you will proceed to one of four areas:
- The intensive care unit
- The intermediate care unit
- The inpatient orthopaedic unit
- Home (if it was outpatient surgery)
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