Surgery Planning Frequently Asked Questions
It's normal to have a lot of questions leading up to your surgery. Here's some information to help you prepare for your surgery.
Who should come with me to the hospital?
If you are scheduled as an outpatient, or for same-day surgery, you should have an adult companion come with you. This person should be willing to be responsible for your care at home during the first 24 hours after surgery. Nursing staff will give you and your adult companion instructions on caregiving after surgery, what changes to expect, and what changes in your condition need to be reported quickly. Your companion, or another responsible adult, will need to drive you home when you are discharged from surgery. You are not allowed to drive yourself home. You cannot take a taxi home unless you are with your adult companion.
If you are scheduled to stay in the hospital overnight, you may come alone to the hospital. However, on the day that you are discharged, you should have another responsible adult drive or accompany you home. You should also arrange for someone to watch and help take care of you for at least the first 24 hours after leaving the hospital.
Where can my family and friends wait for me?
The Inpatient Surgery area has a large waiting room and quiet hallway. The hallway has booths where your family and friends can either sit or lie down. The booths are equipped with electrical outlets for cell phones, laptop computers and other electronic devices. The Outpatient Surgery area also has a large waiting room. Wireless Internet access is available in the surgery waiting area.
Your family and friends may use their cell phones in the surgery waiting rooms and any other public areas of the hospital. Please pay attention to warning signs that are posted in areas that require cellular phones to be turned off.
Can my family and friends know how my surgery went?
First, know that your privacy is protected, and your confidentiality is important to your surgeon and to all of us. If you do not wish to have certain information about your care told to anyone, please tell us ahead of time.
Your family and companions will register with the waiting room volunteer. Through this volunteer, the nursing staff in the surgical areas will communicate with those waiting for you to keep them informed of your progress. Anyone who has registered to receive updates, but wishes to leave the waiting area should first alert the volunteer.
With your prior permission, your surgeon will discuss the findings and results of the surgery with your family or companions after the surgery.
If I know when my surgery's scheduled, when should I arrive at the hospital?
You should arrive two hours before your scheduled surgery time to allow for admission, check in and preparation for surgery. If your surgeon's office has not given you a surgery time, staff from the hospital will call you the day before your scheduled surgery and give you the estimated start time. This may be different from what your surgeon said in your last office visit. Your surgeon works with the hospital to arrange the surgery schedule, and many factors determine surgery times.
However, if your surgeon, or office staff, told you to report at an earlier time of day please follow these instructions as they may have arranged for you to have medical tests prior to the scheduled surgery.
Please be aware that the scheduled time for your operation can change. Cancellations may occur, surgeries prior to yours may be extended or emergency surgeries may take priority. You may be asked to wait or even arrive early. It is important that we are able to contact you prior to your surgery to notify you of any schedule changes. If you cannot be reached at your home phone, please call us with a number where you can be contacted. Be assured that all staff will do their best to keep your surgery scheduled on time; however we must always ensure the safety of our patients.
Should I take my regular medicines as usual on the day of surgery?
This depends. Many medicines can be taken safely even on the day of surgery, but others must be avoided, or taken in reduced dosages, to keep you safe during surgery. You should discuss this with your surgeon during the pre-operative visits; if your surgery is already scheduled, you can call the Overlake Anesthesia Hot Line, 425.646.5825.
If you are being treated with diabetic medications, steroids, hormone replacements or anti-coagulants (blood-thinners), you should make certain to check with your surgeon before surgery. You should not continue taking vitamins, supplements and herbal treatments without informing both your surgeon and anesthesiologist.
If your doctor has agreed that you should take medicines on the day of surgery, you should take them with only a small amount of water to help keep your stomach empty.
Can I eat or drink just before I have surgery?
Due to the risk of vomiting during surgery, along with other complications, anesthesiologists nationwide have established strict rules for eating or drinking before surgery.
Overlake Anesthesiologists require the following for your safety:
- Adults & children 6 years of age and older: No solid food or liquids, including water, for 8 hours before the scheduled surgery.
- Infants and children 5 years of age and younger: No solid food for 6 hours before scheduled surgery. May continue clear liquids only (water, Pedialyte, apple juice) and breast milk until 4 hours before scheduled surgery time.
Can I smoke before surgery?
Studies have shown that patients recover from surgery and anesthesia more quickly, and with fewer complications, if they do not smoke at least 24 hours before surgery. We always recommend that you stop smoking now. This is an opportunity for you to quit smoking, or reduce the amount of cigarettes you smoke. Even if you cannot abstain, the more hours you can avoid smoking before surgery, the easier recovery will be.
Should I wear my glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids?
Please bring them with you to the hospital. Staff can help you remove them just before surgery, and help you wear them again as soon as it is safe for you.
I have dentures, do they need to be removed?
Tell your anesthesiologist if you have any dentures, partial plates, artificial or capped teeth. Dentures will need to be removed for some types of anesthesia or surgical procedures. We prefer that you bring your own container for your dentures, but if not, the hospital can supply one. Staff can help you remove them just before surgery, and help you wear them again as soon as it is safe for you.
I have a health condition, and I use medical equipment daily to help me. Should I bring it?
If you use any portable medical equipment to support you in daily life, you should inform the pre-admission nurse during your interview for surgery. These could include:
- Mobility devices - wheelchair, walker, crutches, scooter, braces.
- Breathing devices - portable oxygen, CPAP machine, respirator.
- Sensory devices - deaf TTY, artificial voice box.
The pre-admission nurse will advise you whether it is appropriate to bring them with you. CPAP machines should always be brought to surgery. If you do bring any medical equipment or supplies, make sure they are marked with your name and contact information. It is best if you can leave larger pieces of equipment in your car until we can identify your hospital room after surgery.
What if I have a diagnosed breathing or sleeping disorder?
You should bring any device you use or prescription medication you take with you to the hospital. They may be used immediately following your surgery to assist you with adequate breathing.