Preparing For Surgery
Dr. Kitchen and his staff are committed to ensuring that your surgical experience is as trouble-free and comfortable as possible, whether you have outpatient surgery or need to stay overnight. The information on this page can help answer many questions you may have before having your surgical procedure.
Outpatient surgery, sometimes called same-day surgery, means you will stay in the hospital or surgery center for less than a day.
Inpatient surgery requires that you be admitted to, and stay in, the hospital for one or more nights.
Before Your Surgery
- Dr. Kitchen will examine you and ask questions about your health history and surgical needs. Make sure your answers are as detailed as possible. Dr. Kitchen may also order tests, such as blood tests and x-rays.
- You will be asked about your current medications. Including inhalers, insulin, and over the counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Ask if you should stop taking these medications before and/or after surgery.
- You may be asked to visit the hospital or surgery center ahead of time to receive pre-operative instructions. Please bring your health insurance cards and photo identification as well as any pre-operative orders provided by our office.
- If you can’t keep your surgery appointment, please let Dr. Kitchen and the hospital or surgery center know right away. Also call if you develop a cold, fever, sore throat, diarrhea or any other health problem. The doctor will decide whether or not to postpone your surgery.
- Unless told otherwise, don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes water, gum, vitamins and mints. This is for your own safety during anesthesia and surgery.
- Please bathe the night before surgery, cleaning the surgery site well with antibacterial soap.
- Follow any other instructions you have been given.
The Day of Your Surgery
- Do not eat or drink anything in the morning unless you have been given special instructions.
- Wear comfortable clothing that you can change in and out of easily and that will not bind the site of your surgery. Leave jewelry, credit cards, rings, watches and other valuables at home.
- When you arrive at the hospital or surgery center, you will be asked to sign a consent form, if you haven’t done so already.
- Change into a hospital gown. You may be asked to remove contact lenses, hearing aids, or dentures.
Anesthesia is medication that keeps you from feeling pain during surgery. Your anesthesiologist will meet with you to discuss your anesthesia, and tell you exactly what will happen before, during and after your surgery. He or she also will answer any questions you may have. Depending on the surgical procedure, you will typically have one of the following types of anesthesia:
- General anesthesia - makes you sleep completely
- Regional anesthesia - numbs one region of your body
- Monitored sedation - makes you drowsy or sleep lightly
After your surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room. You will be under the care of trained nurses, and your anesthesiologist will monitor your condition. You will remain in this room while your anesthesia wears off.
As the anesthesia wears off, noises may seem louder than normal. You may have blurry vision, a dry mouth and chills. Your vital signs will be watched closely. Bandages will be checked. You may still have an IV or other tubes that provide drainage. If you hurt, ask the nurse for pain medication.
When you are ready to leave, you may still feel drowsy. You may also feel a little sick to your stomach. Be sure to have an adult ready to drive you home. Before you leave you will be given post-operative instructions. Have the person who will help you at home hear these instructions as well. Ask any questions you have.
Questions you may want to ask following surgery:
- Are there foods or drinks I shouldn’t have?
- What medications should I take or not take?
- What should I do if I have pain?
- Are there exercises I should do or activities I should avoid?
- When can I drive?
- When can I return to work?
- How should I care for my incision?
Recovering At Home
Your recovery continues at home. Do what you’ve been told so you will feel better faster. For at least 24 hours, while you recover from the anesthesia, do not drive or use machines or power tools. Do not drink alcohol, make any important decisions or sign any important papers.
- Support - For the first day or two, have someone around who can help you and watch for problems. Make sure this person knows what you can and can’t eat, what medications you should take, and any other instructions you were given.
- Incision Care - You may leave the hospital with a bandage or dressing. Your doctor will tell you when you can remove it. Keep the dressing clean and dry. Ask your doctor when you can shower or take a bath again. A small amount of bleeding and/or leakage from the incision is normal. If the bandage soaks through, please call our office.
- Eating and Drinking - Your stomach may be upset, and you may be constipated for a few days. This often is caused by the anesthesia or by certain pain medications. Follow the doctor’s orders on what to eat. You may not feel like eating much. Start off with liquids and soup. Then slowly move to solid food. Don’t eat fatty, rich, or spicy foods at first. Unless directed not to, drink at least 6 glasses of clear liquids (such as water, apple juice or ginger ale) a day.
- Medication - Take your pain medication as directed. Pain medications can upset your stomach. Taking them with a little food can help. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, don’t stop taking them until you finish the prescription or Dr. Kitchen tells you it’s okay to stop.
When To Call
Call the office or the hospital emergency room if you notice any of these signs:
- Chest pain
- Vomiting lasting more than 4 hours
- Large amount of bleeding or swelling
- Discharge from the incision
- Red, hot or painful area around the incision
- Shortness of breath
- No bowel movement within 3 days
- Fever of 101 ºF or greater
Someone from the hospital or surgery center may call the day after your surgery to check how you are doing. Be sure to mention any problems you may have. After surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment in the office. During this visit, Dr. Kitchen will check your surgical site. Feel free to ask questions and bring up any concerns. It may help to write them down as they arise, then bring the written questions with you.