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Outpatient Surgery 101

After Outpatient Surgery

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After surgery, you will be brought to a recovery room you will wake up if you were unconscious. Recovery can take from 1 hour to several hours. 

Ideally, you will wake up with minimal to no pain or discomfort. If significant pain is experienced, a nurse should be informed immediately. The recovery nurse monitors the patients and treats any problems that may arise, such as nausea, vomiting, chills, and low or high blood pressure. 

 All outpatient centers have strict discharge criteria. For example, it is likely you will have to meet the following criteria before being allowed to go home: 

  • Stable vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, temperature, and pain level) 
  • Tolerate food and drink. 
  • Be able to empty your bladder. 
  • Walk without assistance. 
  • An adult is available to take the patient home. Most patients are restricted from driving for 24 hours after surgery. Patients often experience drowsiness and minor after-effects, such as muscle aches, sore throat, and occasional dizziness and headaches. Occasionally nausea may also be present. There may also be fatigue and discomfort for a day or two following the surgery. This discomfort varies depending on the type of surgical procedure performed. 

Before going home, find out:  

  • Who to contact if a problem occurs, including telephone numbers FOR 24/7
  • What medication to take for pain (including a prescription if you haven't already filled one) 
  • What to do to keep the wound clean 
  • What activities you can and cannot do - including when you can return to work and whether you need to restrict your work activities for a  period of time 
  • When you can start eating 
  • When to see the doctor for a follow-up if necessary. 

Once at home: 

  • Ideally, someone will stay with you for the first 24 hours to provide help when necessary and to call for help should a problem arise. 
  • The doctor should be alerted as soon as possible if a problem is suspected. The earlier the doctor is aware of a potential problem, the sooner appropriate treatment can be started to avert any long-term effects. 

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