Your surgeon’s office will call to confirm the day, check-in time and location of your surgery. Be sure to arrive to check-in on time. This may be hours before your scheduled surgery in order for the surgical team to ensure you are prepared.
Getting you ready for surgery
After you check-in, your support person will be asked for a phone number where they can be reached when you are ready to go home or moved to a hospital room. If they wish to wait, they will be directed to a waiting area.
- An ID band will be put on your wrist, and you may be asked to change into a hospital gown, or to tuck your hair under a cap.
- You’ll be provided with a bed or chair to wait in.
- You may be asked to sign consent forms.
- You may be given some medicine and have an intravenous tube connected to you.
- The surgeon, anesthetist or nurse may come to talk to you.
- You may be asked to go to the bathroom, remove your glasses, hearing aid, dentures, etc.
- When the team and room are ready for you, you’ll be moved into the procedure or operating room.
Ensuring your safety
The surgical team uses a safety checklist to keep you safe. Here are some of the activities you can expect.
Re-confirm the correct patient
Before you are given an anesthetic, the surgical team will again confirm that you are the right patient. You will be asked your name and other identifying information possibly many times. Someone will make sure that you have a wrist band on that has your name, any allergies you may have, and other important information about you. This information will be checked before you go for your surgery.
Re-confirm the correct surgical location
Before your surgery, your surgeon will verify with you the location on your body where the operation will occur and will use a marker to initial the spot. If you are having a regional block before your surgery, the site where the block will be done will be marked by the anaesthetist before the procedure.
A “time out” and a “briefing session” inside the operating room
The surgical team will again confirm that you are the right patient. The side of your body and site of your surgery will be talked about out loud and everyone will agree that this is correct. All important information about you will be reviewed by the team out loud. This is to make sure that the operating room team understands and agrees with what is going to happen. The team will discuss the important steps in your surgery, your medications, allergies or any special needs you may have during your surgery.
Debrief after surgery
Before you leave the operating room, the team will talk about what happened during your surgery, and will confirm where you are to go to recover.
Monitoring your recovery
After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area. If you have had a general anesthetic, you will be moved to a Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU).
- Still have tubes and monitors connected to you
- Be awake but feel very sleepy or like you are in a dream
- Have a sore throat, headache, or muscle pain from the anesthetic
A nurse in the recovery area will let you know when you are able to go home or are ready to be moved to a unit in the hospital.
Managing your pain
Decreasing the amount of pain after surgery helps to reduce stress on your body, promote healing, decrease complications, and prevent the development of long-term pain.
We will ask you to rate your pain levels (0-10) and describe the type of pain you are having (eg. sharp, achy, throbbing) to better understand and treat your pain.
If needed, your surgeon will prescribe pain medication. It is important to be honest about how much pain you have – not to minimize it or exaggerate it. View a video on pain management.
Many procedures do not require an incision (cut in your skin) so you will not have any surgical staples or stitches (sutures).
If you do have an incision (or wound that has been closed), print and take the Taking Care at Home After Surgery information sheet to the hospital to confirm that the information is correct or to note any additional instructions.
It is normal for you to feel tired after surgery, even if it was a minor procedure and you didn’t have a general anesthetic. Even if you feel well, it is important to your recovery to get more rest than usual.
It is common to have disturbed sleep after surgery. Your sleep will improve as you recover. If you find it hard to sleep at night or you have strange dreams, please tell your nurse, surgeon, or family doctor. Your medications may need to be changed.
Staying in bed all day isn’t good for you. Try to get back into your normal routine as soon as you can. Take numerous rest periods during the day for the first few days, and then reduce them as you feel better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Understand more about your surgery by visiting our Frequently Asked Questions section.