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Frequently Asked Patient Questions

Surgical Procedures

How Do I Prepare for Surgery?

Questions regarding medications

You may take your regular medications as directed with the exception of diabetic injections and Coumadin. Please notify your health professional for needed adjustments in these medications. Please bring the medications you are currently taking with you and in their bottles so the nursing staff can have an accurate listing of all your medications.

What if I am a smoker?

If you smoke, please try to quit or cut down prior to having your surgery.  Let your physician know prior to your surgery that you are a smoker, how much and how often.  Any concerns or issues will be discussed.

What does NPO mean?

NPO means you must not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours prior to your surgery. This is very important because this will decrease your chance of vomiting and developing serious complications after surgery. If you have food or fluids prior to surgery, your procedure may be rescheduled to another date for your safety.

Pre-OP Lab Work, X-ray Exams, Pre-OP Anesthesia

You may be required to have lab work, an EKG, and/or X-rays in the days prior to your procedure.  If required, you will be given a Perioperative Services Form at your office visit that will provide you with detailed information on what tests you will need to schedule and the necessary contact information to do so.  These will need to be completed at least three days prior to surgery. 

Why do I need lab work?

Blood work will provide information about your blood cells and blood chemistry. Urinalysis will provide information about your kidneys and possible pregnancy.

What is an EKG?

An EKG is short for Electrocardiogram.  This measures the electrical activity of your heartbeat and allows your physician to determine how long the electrical waves take to pass through the heart.  If you have problems indicated on the EKG, this could mean you require further testing prior to surgery.

Why do I need X-rays prior to surgery?

There are many kinds of X-rays that may be done prior to surgery. The most common is a chest X-ray. This is done so we can ensure your lungs are able to tolerate surgery and anesthesia. If other X-rays are indicated, your health professional will instruct you on the time and date of the exam and how to prepare for them.


You will be given anesthesia for your surgery. This will keep you comfortable while your surgery is performed. There are several kinds of anesthesia available. These are done by either an anesthesiologist (a doctor who specializes in anesthesia) or a nurse anesthetist (a nurse who has had extensive training in providing safe anesthesia). You are required to have someone with you that can drive you home after any anesthetic.  Please make arrangements for a driver to pick you up at the hospital following your surgery.

What is General Anesthesia?

An I.V. (Intravenous Line) will be started and appropriate medications will be administered to provide you with a safe anesthetic. Your airway will be maintained and you may have a tube inserted into your mouth that will assist you in your breathing. Occasionally, you may experience a sore throat after a general anesthesia. This is a common occurrence and will go away in a few days.

What is Spinal Anesthesia?

A spinal anesthetic will provide you with a numb sensation from the waist down to your toes. This is done by inserting a very small needle between the bones in your back. A medication is then injected and you will be positioned on the operating table. Most of the time, you will be given some sedation through your I.V. that will assist you in remaining comfortable during surgery. This is a very safe anesthetic that is a good choice for patients that are having surgery on areas below the waist or for patients that have problems with their heart or lungs.

What is a Duramorph Spinal?

A Duramorph Spinal is an anesthetic that is given along with a general anesthesia to provide the patient with pain control after surgery for 24 to 48 hours. This is given to patients that will be having extensive abdominal surgery that requires a larger incision. As with a spinal, you will have a very small needle inserted between the bones in our back and the medication will be injected. You will then be positioned on the table and have a general anesthetic administered.

What is an IV Regional Block?

This is an anesthetic that is used for some procedures on the hand or arm. It is a good anesthetic that just numbs the hand or just the arm area and is safe for anyone.

What is a TIVA Anesthesia?

TIVA is Total IV Anesthesia that is used in conjunction with a local anesthesia that keeps you comfortable during your procedure.

Checking In the Day of Surgery

Your surgery will either be an inpatient procedure or an outpatient procedure. Regardless of which, you will start at the outpatient surgery department. If your procedure is considered outpatient, you may be allowed to go home after a short recovery period or you may be placed in observation overnight and able to return home the next day.  If you are having inpatient surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital after your surgery.

The Operating Room

Prior to your arrival in the operating room, you may be given medication to help you relax and prepare for your surgery. For your safety, you will be transported to and from the OR on a stretcher with side rails. Once in the OR you will be assisted to the OR table and given warm blankets. You will be put on several monitors that will assist your health care team in providing the best care for you during your surgery.

The Recovery Room

After your surgery you will be admitted to the recovery room. The recovery room is staffed with specialized nurses that take care of you while you are recovering from your anesthesia. You can expect to stay in the recovery room for about an hour.

After the Recovery Room

After you have spent time in the recovery room, you will be either taken back to the outpatient department or you will be admitted to the hospital. You will be able to be with your family and friends at this time unless you are admitted to the intensive care unit where there are specific visiting times.

Going Home 

Prior to leaving the hospital after your procedure, you will be provided with discharge forms and instructions to follow. Please read through these instructions carefully before you leave the hospital and ask any questions that you may have.  You may be given pain medication if indicated by your surgeon. You will also be given an appointment to return to the office for a post-operative visit to check on your progress. If you have any problems, please don't hesitate to call the office for assistance.