Surgical Protocol

Your guide to having surgery in Colorado

What tests are required prior to my procedure?

Any preoperative tests will be determined by your physician or anesthesiologist and communicated to you prior to the date of your surgery.

Will I be contacted prior to my procedure by the facility?

Yes. You may receive up to three calls. You will be contacted a few days prior to surgery by one of our registered nurses. This call will include a routine health assessment, instructions for the day of surgery, and answers to any questions you may have. You may also be contacted by someone in the facility’s business office to address financial matters such as your responsibility for co-payments, deductibles and upgraded lenses. Finally, you may also be contacted by your anesthesiologist.

What should I bring?

  • Please bring a photo identification and your insurance card(s). Our staff will need to verify and make copies when you check in on the day of your surgery.
  • Be sure to bring any routine medications that you may need during your stay at the facility (e.g., inhaler, insulin, migraine medicine). Do not bring medications prescribed for before or after surgery with you into the surgery center.
  • Please bring a list of all drugs you are currently taking.
  • Please bring payment of any patient responsibility (e.g. co-payment or deductible).
  • Please do not bring rings, watches, or other valuables. The surgery center is not responsible for lost items.
  • If you wear glasses, bring them to complete any necessary paperwork.
  • If you require oxygen, please bring your portable tank with you.
  • If you sleep with a CPAP machine, please bring it with you.

Should I arrange a ride to the facility?

Yes. You will not be allowed to drive after surgery. Please arrange for an adult to drive you home and for someone to be with you when you arrive. This adult must also stay at the surgery center for the duration of your surgery.

What may I eat and drink before the procedure?

We request that you have nothing to eat (including gum, mints, candy, etc.) or drink after midnight the evening prior to your surgery. Your physician or a preoperative nurse may inform you of a change in eating and drinking restrictions depending on the time of your surgery and/or existing medical conditions. It is very important that you follow the provided instructions. If you do not, your surgery may be delayed or cancelled.

Should I take my routine medications on the day of the procedure?

Take any medications for your heart, lungs, blood pressure or restless leg syndrome that you usually take before coming to the surgery center BUT with a very small amount of water. If you take diabetic or anti-coagulant medications, you will be given instructions regarding medications by your physician or a surgery center nurse. If you are on dialysis, consult with the surgery center nurse about coordinating your surgery with your dialysis schedule. Also, as noted above, please be prepared to list all medications (including name and dosage) you are taking and to bring any with you that may be needed during your stay (e.g., inhaler, insulin, migraine medicine).

What can I do to help prevent a site infection?

Take a shower the night before and the morning of surgery. Follow these simple steps:

  • Wash your hair first with any shampoo.
  • Wash all your body using a liquid antibacterial soap and a clean washcloth for each shower.
  • Rinse well to remove all soap.
  • Dry your body with a clean towel.
  • Do not use lotion, cream or powder.

What if I get sick or my health changes before my surgery?

If you experience any health changes between your most recent visit with your physician and the date of surgery, notify your physician immediately. Please report even minor changes, such as an elevated temperature, cough or cold. If you cannot reach your physician, please call the facility.

What if I think I might be pregnant?

Please be sure to notify your physician, anesthesiologist and nurse prior to the date of surgery if you think you may be pregnant. The surgical procedure, anesthesia and medications may be harmful to a developing baby.

When should I arrive?

Plan to arrive at the surgery center 90 minutes prior to your surgery time. Please note, the building does not open until 5:30 am so you may need to wait for the building to open if you arrive early. For your convenience, there is an elevator located behind the stairs in the foyer.

What will happen when I first arrive at the facility?

When you arrive at the facility, you will be checked in by a member of our staff. The admission process is usually very quick as we have obtained most of your information prior to your arrival. This final check allows us to verify all your key information, so we can better serve you.

What should I wear?

For your comfort, we encourage you to wear loose comfortable clothing that can be easily removed and stored. Shirts with buttons or zippers are best. Please avoid wearing any jewelry, piercings, cosmetics, and leave contact lenses at home or bring your lens case with you. If you wear dentures, they may be removed in the operating room, but will be returned to you as soon as possible after surgery.

What should I do with my clothes and additional belongings?

A nurse will escort you into the pre-operative area where you will change your clothes. Your belongings will be safely stored until you are ready to go home. We recommend that you leave all valuables and additional accessories at home.

What happens after I check-in?

A nurse will conduct a pre-operative assessment that will include taking your vital signs and starting an IV if it is required for your procedure. The anesthesia provider will also speak with you in the pre-operative area to review all pre-operative information and discuss your anesthesia. Our staff will keep your family and friends informed of your progress. We understand the anxiety family and friends will have while you are having your procedure. We will make every effort to keep them informed of your progress and when they will be able to rejoin you after the procedure.

What can I do to help ensure that I have the proper procedure on the correct site?

Your safety is our primary concern. Your entire health care team will follow rigorous guidelines regarding site identification and procedure confirmation. National Patient Safety Goals have been developed which require your involvement too. You will be asked numerous times to confirm both the procedure you are having and the surgical site. You should take a very active role in all discussions with your physician, your anesthesia provider and our staff regarding the identification of your procedure and the correct surgical site. In most cases, your surgeon will mark the site prior to your procedure.

What can I do to help prevent a site infection?

Follow this simple step:

  • On the day of your procedure make sure you, your family and any other caregivers wash hands frequently while at the facility and at home following your surgery. Also, do not hesitate to ask members of your health care team at the facility if they have washed their hands!

Will I see my physician prior to the procedure?

Yes. The nature of most procedures will require that you and your physician confirm both the specific type of procedure you are having as well as the surgical site of that procedure.

How long can my family stay with me prior to my procedure?

This will depend upon several factors. However, we believe that familiar faces can assist in reducing your anxiety about the procedure, so please do not hesitate to inform the nurse that you would like a friend or family member to sit with you.

Can I use tobacco?

No. We advise against smoking or chewing tobacco 24-hours prior to your surgery and 24-hours following your surgery. Tobacco may interfere with the anesthesia and frequently produces nausea during the recovery period.

Are there different kinds of sedation or anesthesia?

Yes. There are different categories of sedation and anesthesia: Conscious Sedation, General, Regional and Local Anesthesia. Regardless of the type of sedation or anesthesia that you receive, special anesthetic agents and techniques are used to provide a safe and speedy recovery. If there are alternative choices available for your surgery, and often there are, your physician or anesthesiologist will discuss them with you before surgery.

May I request the type of anesthesia I will receive?

Depending on the type of surgery, there may be anesthetic options. Your physician or anesthesia provider will discuss available options with you after reviewing your medical history.

Will I receive any sedatives before the procedure?

Together, you, your surgeon and your anesthesia provider will develop an anesthetic care plan. This plan may include pre-operative sedation and other medications if necessary.

What are the risks of anesthesia?

All surgical procedures and all anesthetics have risks. These risks are dependent upon many factors, including the type of surgery and the medical condition of the patient. Your anesthesiologist will assess you pre-operatively and every precaution will be taken to minimize your risk. We routinely see minor symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, sore throat, dizziness, tiredness, headache, muscle aches and pain, most of which are easily treated. Please feel free to discuss any questions with your anesthesia provider.

Will I be billed separately by the anesthesiologist?

Yes. You will receive a separate bill from your anesthesia provider if anesthesia was administered.

Why must I refrain from eating and/or drinking prior to procedure?

It is important to refrain from eating and/or drinking prior to surgery to prevent the risks of aspirating gastric contents (complication related to vomiting) during or shortly after your surgery. This complication may be very serious. Specific instructions based on national safety standards will be provided to you prior to your procedure. It is very important that you follow the provided instructions. If you do not, your surgery may be delayed or cancelled.

How long will I stay after my procedure?

The amount of recovery time varies from patient to patient. After your procedure, a nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are alert and stable. You will be sent home as soon as your health care team feels it is safe to discharge you from the facility. You should expect to be in recovery for at least 30 minutes after surgery.

Can my family be with me after the procedure?

Yes. After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area. A nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are comfortable as the anesthesia begins to wear off. Once you are awake and alert, your family will be invited back to the recovery area.

What will happen if I am not able to go home?

Admissions to a hospital from a surgery center happen occasionally. In certain circumstances, your physician or anesthesiologist may determine that you need to be transferred to a hospital for additional post-operative care.

What if I am not feeling well once I get home?

If you are in serious pain, or exhibit warning symptoms described in your discharge instructions, please call your physician, go to the nearest emergency room, or call 911.

What can I eat when I get home?

Your surgeon may have specific recommendations for your post-operative diet. We generally suggest that you eat lightly after surgery, and strongly encourage you to drink plenty of fluids. You should avoid alcoholic beverages.

What can I do to help prevent a post-operative infection?

In addition to following the recommendations below, follow your post-operative instructions carefully and notify your physician if you have any signs or symptoms which concern you. Follow these simple steps:

  • After your procedure make sure you, your family, and any other caregivers wash their hands frequently. Also, be sure you follow all instructions provided by your health care team regarding the care and cleaning of your surgical site as well as the administration of post-operative medications and bandages.
  • Sleep on clean sheets before and after surgery. We recommend you do not have your pets sleep in or on your bed the night before and after surgery.

How will my pain be managed?

The management of your pain is of great importance to us. We will be assessing your level of pain from the time of admission until you receive our post-operative call at home. During your stay at the facility, you will be repeatedly asked to rate your pain using a numerical scale (1-10). We will often use a combination of different modalities to help make you comfortable; choosing from oral medications, intravenous medications, injection of local anesthetic during the surgery, etc. Prior to the surgery, the management of your pain should be discussed with both your anesthesiologist and surgeon. Please feel free to bring up any concerns or fears you may have. Remember that information on pain management gives you the appropriate expectations and hence a smoother, more comfortable recovery. It is important to follow instructions regarding your post-operative pain medication closely. Many pain medications take 20 to 30 minutes to begin to work. For best results, the pain medication should be taken before the pain becomes too strong.

Should I continue my usual medications after procedure?

Most patients should continue their usual medications after surgery. Patients who have diabetes and those patients on blood thinners may require some adjustment of their medications. These instructions will be clarified with you before you leave the facility. If you have any questions, please call your surgeon or primary care physician.

Advance directives are merely written statements of a patients wish regarding health care decisions, and may take the form of a Living Will for terminal conditions, a durable Power of Attorney for health care, or any written statement executed by the patient which expresses his/her views and choices on health care issues.

We encourage you to take part in making decisions about your medical care. You have the right to accept or refuse surgical or medical treatment. If you have questions about your rights, or wish to have more information about advance directives, the Admission Coordinator can assist you.

Your physician(s) will determine when you are ready to be discharged from the center. A nurse will review the discharge plans with you and your responsible caregiver at this time. We will provide a written copy of the discharge instructions which includes items such as: physical and activity restrictions, if any; information regarding medication you are to take after discharge, and other special instructions that your doctor wishes you to have. If you have any questions after your discharge, call your physician.

A nurse from the surgery center will call you at home the day following your procedure to see how you are doing. If you have a procedure on Friday you will be called the following Monday. It is important for us to know how you are feeling and progressing after your procedure.