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Outpatient Surgery (cont.)

Outpatient Surgery Preparation

Before the surgery

  • A surgeon evaluates the person before the operation. If a surgeon finds medical issues that need attention, a family doctor or an internist also sees the person before the operation.

  • Although most people do not meet with their anesthesiologist until the day of surgery, this doctor plays an active and important role in assessing and preparing people with complex medical conditions for surgery. Either before or on the day of surgery, an anesthesiologist reviews available medical information, completes an examination, and discusses the anesthetic plan with the person who is undergoing the operation and his or her family. The anesthesiologist can answer any questions or concerns at this time.

  • People with medical problems, such as prior heart attacks or strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, should visit with their doctor or anesthesiologist before the day of their surgery. At this visit, the doctor may also require the following information:

    • Copies of medical records, especially ECGs and results of heart and lung testing and recent lab tests

    • A list of medical problems and past surgical procedures, including any problems that occurred during prior surgeries

    • A complete list of medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), including vitamins, herbs, or other supplements, and their dosages

    • A clearly identified list of medications that cause allergic reactions or other problems

  • The evaluation before surgery seeks to address questions, to help calm fears and anxiety regarding anesthesia and surgery, and to ensure that a person understands his or her existing medical problems. This evaluation also confirms that the person is in the best condition prior to surgery.

  • Sometimes, medication changes or additions are recommended or more testing is required before surgery. Rarely, an anesthesiologist may delay or cancel the surgery for further evaluation.

Before arrival at the surgery center
  • Do not eat or drink before the procedure. Otherwise, vomiting may occur under anesthesia, causing aspiration pneumonia (when matter gets into your lungs) or breathing problems. A surgeon or an anesthesiologist should give specific information about when to stop eating and drinking.

  • Specific instructions may be given to continue certain medications, such as heart medications, or to discontinue certain medications, such as aspirin or blood thinners, several days before the procedure. These recommendations should be followed carefully. A violation could delay or cancel the surgery.

  • Do not wear jewelry because it may get lost or cause skin irritation if it becomes too tight.

  • Do not wear makeup because it tends to smear or cause tape not to stick.

  • Do not wear contact lenses because they may get lost, dry out, or scratch the eyes.

  • Remove dentures before the procedure.

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