DAY OF SURGERY: Women’s College Hospital

On the day of surgery, wear something comfortable that will be easy to get on over your surgical site. Don’t forget to bring your health card and green hospital card. As well, if you’re having ankle, knee, or hip surgery, you will need to bring crutches along to your surgery. If you don’t already have crutches, they can be purchased from the hospital. Remember that you will also need someone there with you to bring you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night to help prepare meals for you, to assist you in getting out of bed to go to the bathroom, etc.

Pre-op:

On the day of surgery, you will come in to the hospital early in the morning, and will sign in at a pre-operative desk. Your accompanying person will then be shown to a waiting room, and you will be shown to a pre-op room. Here you will speak to a nurse, who will ask you a few questions, and you will change into a hospital gown. The nurse will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Next, you will move to a pre-operative waiting area where you can wait with your family.  Before surgery you will meet with the anesthetist who will likely ask you a few questions and may perform a physical exam. Be sure to let your anesthetist know if you have any drug allergies, or have ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia. Depending on the procedure being performed, you may also be offered a nerve block to numb the surgical area and reduce post-operative pain. This involves an injection of local anesthetic around a nerve supplying the surgical area.

In the operating room:

Once you’re all ready, you will be brought to the operating room.  You will be placed on monitors to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, and oxygen levels. An IV will be started in your hand or arm.  Next, the anesthetist will give you the general anesthetic, and you will go to sleep. This is administered intravenously through your IV and does not cause any pain. You will fall asleep within seconds and will not remember anything after this point until you wake up.

Once you are asleep, the anesthetist will place a tube down your throat and will put you on a ventilator to breathe for you for the duration of the surgery. This tube will be removed as you are beginning to wake up following surgery, before you are fully conscious. The anesthetist will remain at your side for the entire surgery and will be responsible for monitoring your breathing, vital signs and level of sedation throughout the procedure. Meanwhile, the surgeon will prepare your operative area, will ensure that the area is sterile, and then the surgery will begin.

Post-op:

You will wake up a couple of hours later in a recovery room. There will be a nurse there to monitor and assist you. You will still be connected to monitors, and your surgical site will be dressed and bandaged appropriately. Pain medication will be given to you as required.

Finally, you will be moved to a second post-op room to rest and continue to wake up completely before being discharged to go home. Your accompanying person can stay with you in this area.  The monitors and your IV will be removed, and you will begin taking your prescribed oral pain medications as required. You will likely feel very tired following the anesthetic, and some people may feel nauseous or disoriented. These side effects will wear off in a couple of hours.  Dr. Murnaghan will update you and your family or friends on how the surgery went.

Going home:

You will rest in this recovery room until the nurse says you are ready to go home. At this point, your accompanying person can bring your car around to the front of the hospital, and the nurse will wheel you down in a wheelchair. You should be ready to go by mid afternoon.

Before you leave the hospital, you will be given one or more prescriptions from Dr. Murnaghan. Generally you will be given one prescription for pain medications, and another for an anti-inflammatory. These should be taken as directed and/or as needed. The specific prescriptions will depend on the procedures being performed and the patient’s medical history. Be sure to follow the directions given to you for taking the drugs.