After your procedure, you will be moved to our fully-equipped recovery room where the anesthesiologist and our recovery room nurses will observe you closely until you are ready to go home. Your doctor will want to talk with a family member/friend after your surgery so it is important for this person to remain in the building.
The time a patient stays in the recovery room will vary depending on the procedure performed and the physician’s instructions, but typically most patients are discharged within approximately 30 minutes after their procedure.
Your surgeon will provide post-operative instructions about diet, rest, exercise, and medications. The Center will provide you with a written summary of these instructions before you are discharged. We suggest that you pamper yourself for the first 24 hours following your procedure.
If you had anesthesia and/or pain medications, arrange for an adult to remain with you at home for at least 24 hours. Since it is normal to feel drowsy after receiving an anesthetic, we also recommend that you postpone these activities for 24 hours after discharge:
- Driving and operating equipment
- Signing important papers
- Making significant decisions
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
If you have any unexpected problems, please call your doctor. A nurse from the Center will attempt to call you the next day to check your progress and discuss any questions you may have.
What happens right after my surgery?
While in the operating room, you will be transferred to a special bed, then wheeled to the recovery room. There, nurses frequently check your blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate. Medications for pain or nausea may be administered. Since many patients feel slightly disoriented after surgery, your nurse will first assure you that the surgery is completed and that you are safe in the recovery room. You will remain here from 30 minutes to one hour. Then you will be transferred to the patient care area where your family member or friend may join you. If you have no nausea, you will be given water, apple juice or carbonated beverages.
How will I feel?
Most patients feel a bit groggy, light-headed, dizzy, sore and slightly nauseated. How you feel depends on the complexity of your procedure, how long you were in the operating room, your pain threshold and what type of anesthesia you were given. Each person responds differently to surgery and the effect of anesthesia. It is important to communicate with your nurse and let her know if you need pain medication or have special concerns.
How soon can I return home?
Once your vital signs are stable, you feel comfortable and alert, and your nurse determines that your condition meets all discharge criteria, you may return home when you feel ready. You may not be completely pain-free. Most patients spend an average of one hour and a half to two hours in their room. Time may vary depending on the type of anesthesia used, the length of time spent in the operating room, and your individual response.
What if I don’t feel ready to go home?
Once all discharge criteria are met, you may return home. If you wish to remain at the center a bit longer, however, simply ask your nurse. She will be glad to discuss this option with you.
We do recommend that you leave before the effects of your anesthesia wear off completely. This helps reduce pain for the trip home, and allows you to fall asleep more easily and rest more comfortable once you return home. Studies show that the familiar surroundings of home actually help speed recovery and reduce the need for pain medication.
Recovery at home
Once you feel alert and comfortable, you will be asked to get dressed. Before being escorted to your car, we review your homecare instructions with you and give you a copy for easy reference. You will also be given any prescriptions for pain medications recommended by your doctor.
You may or may not feel sick to your stomach while driven home. Slight nausea may be experienced as a side-effect of anesthesia. If you begin to feel sick, stop the car, roll down your window and allow yourself a breath of fresh air.
What should I do when I get home?
To hasten your recovery, we recommend that you rest comfortably as soon as you get home. Patients typically feel sleepy most of the day. You may begin your regular diet and resume normal activities when you and your doctor determine you are ready. Within a few days after your procedure, a nurse from the center will call to find out how you are doing.
What specific home care instructions should I follow?
Written Post-Operative Home Care Instructions will be given to you before leaving the surgery center. Please follow these instructions carefully. Be sure to contact your doctor if you have any questions.