You will feel much more relaxed and most likely have a better experience if you ask all the pertinent questions before your surgery date. When you know what to expect, you can plan in advance to aid in your surgery itself and in your recovery plan.

Where will the Operation Take Place?

Surgeries used to all take place in a hospital at one point in time. Now many operations are done in an outpatient center. This can be an extension of a hospital and actually in a hospital setting or it can be an entirely different building that is separate from the hospital. Outpatient surgery, usually means that you have your operation and then you go home on the same day if all goes well. You won’t need to spend the night away from home with most outpatient surgeries.

What Happens During Surgery?

You should ask your surgeon to explain to you exactly what will happen on surgery day. Get them to walk you through each of the steps that will be taken before, during and after surgery. He will inform you of the technique for your surgery and if it is done with traditional incisions or laproscopically with a few tiny incisions, through which they insert tools to do the surgery. You should also ask about the type of anesthesia that you’ll get to keep you pain-free and numb during the operation.

Who is Going to Be Involved?

A group of professionals will take care of your before, during and after surgery. Besides the surgeon, you will likely have care from nurses, anesthesiologists and there could be assisting doctors also. You can ask your surgeon who will be on your team and how much experience they have to put your mind at ease before the operation. Ask what type of anesthesia you will have. It could be local where they numb a small part of your body, regional on a larger area or general, which affects your entire body. Some types of anesthesia are inhaled while others are administered in a shot or though a vein in the form of an IV.

Don’t Be Afraid of Waking Up During Surgery

Very rarely does a person wake up under general anesthesia. It’s extremely rare to actually be aware of what’s going on. Anyone that has ever had this happen reports that they felt no pain whatsoever. Talk to the anesthesiologist before your surgery if you have concerns about this issue or if you think, it may have occurred to you in the past.

What Happens Before the Operation?

Ask if you need to pre-register before the big day. Most likely, you will need to have a blood test and an EKG beforehand and pre-register so you can hold your surgery date and time. You will need to give all your medical information past and present so it can be examined and put in the computer. You may need to take additional medications the day before and the day of surgery or you may need to leave off medications. You should also find out if you need to withhold food and drink as of midnight the night before your scheduled surgery.

What Kind of Pain Will You Feel After Surgery?

You might feel pressure, some pain or a burning sensation where your operation took place as you start moving around afterwards. You can have sore muscles and your throat may be uncomfortable. Find out what pain medication you will be given after surgery and if you will need some when you go home. He will also inform you if other techniques can help ease your pain, such as heat or cold therapy or even massage therapy.

What is the Recovery Like?

You should find out what you can or can’t do after surgery. You may need to take time off work or get home health care for yourself or care for your kids. Ask how long you will be in the hospital and what specialized care do you need when you go home. You may need surgical supplies for your incision or special medications afterwards. You could also need physical therapy. Ask when you will be back to your old self again before the surgery was required and if there is anything that can speed up your recovery. Ask for a timeline as to what you can do on day 1, day 2 etc. Most surgeons will give you a fact sheet that has all of the timeline detailed out for you, so you’ll know what to expect.

Do I Need to Wear Loose Clothing?

Sometimes after a procedure, it can be difficult to dress yourself as you recover. If your procedure affects your movements in any manner, ask if wearing loose and soft clothing that are easy to put on and take off will help. Pants with elastic waists or pants that are loose fitting and shirts that button may be easier to wear while you recover.

How do I Fight Infections?

While you are in the hospital, all of your caregivers will use sanitizer or gloves when they touch you to reduce the chance of a hospital acquired infection. When you go home, make certain that you wash your hands often or sanitize them so you can avoid an infection. If you have home caregivers, make certain they follow the same regimen.

What are the Risks Associated with Your Procedure?

Ask your surgeon about any complications in your particular procedure including what is the most common one, what’s the worst thing that can happen and what are the chances of each type of complication.

Are You at Risk for Blood Clots?

Some surgeries can raise your chance of getting blood clots, which can be dangerous. Things that can make you more likely to have Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, include being older in age, being overweight, smoking and conditions such as previous clots, cancers and some medications.

How Do I Prepare?

Ask if there is anything you can do in advance of your surgery that may boost your odds of the best result. He may want you to exercise or improve your diet in advance of your procedure or tell you to avoid cigarettes, alcohol or some specific medications. In many cases, if you get in better shape before your surgery, then you are more likely to have a quicker recovery with less pain and fewer complications.

X Marks the Spot

It is common before going into surgery to have a nurse or doctor use a pen to mark the area on your body where you will have your surgery. Ask if this will be done before your procedure so you’ll understand the marks on your skin afterwards.

What Information do I Need to Share with My Surgeon?

Your surgeon will need a lot of your information before the big day. he will need to know all of the medications you take, the strengths of them and how often you take them. This includes aspirin, acetaminophen and antibiotics. He will also need to know of all the over the counter herbs and supplements you take, as these can sometimes affect your prescriptions in a negative or positive manner. Many supplements, such as ginseng, garlic, Echinacea, fish oils, ginkgo balboa or vitamins can be too risky to take before your surgical procedure. Others can affect how long anesthesia lasts or it can mix badly with other medications and cause unexpected side effects. You will need to inform him of any allergies you have and all medications or treatments you have tried before for your condition. Inform him of any other operations you have had and any other problems from operations, such as nausea and vomiting.

Learning everything you need to know in advance of a surgery or procedure can help to ease your mind that it will all go well when the surgery date comes around.

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