What To Expect Before, During & After Surgery

Convenience, safety and compassion

Be Prepared for Your Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham

When you’re told you need to have surgery, we understand it can be stressful. At BID Needham, we try to keep your stress to a minimum. You can depend on us to keep you informed and to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible.

If you need emergency surgery our surgical care teams are available 24/7 to provide the procedures and critical care you need.

Pre-Admission Appointment & Testing

At BID Needham, we schedule most surgeries in advance. You meet with your doctor and members of the surgical care team to plan your surgery.

At a surgical consultation, your doctor:

  • Reviews your medical history
  • Discusses your exam results
  • Presents your options for surgery or non-surgical alternatives

We take the time to explain your procedure and answer your questions. Your surgery may be an outpatient procedure. This means you return home the same day. If your surgery is an inpatient procedure, you will spend a night or more in the hospital.

Together, we also plan for a successful recovery. Our team will talk to you about your home environment and available support services. If needed, we connect you with home health resources.

Your surgeon’s office contacts us to schedule your surgery. We also help you schedule these or other tests you may need:

About a week before your scheduled surgery, you’ll receive a call from your surgical team. During this call, we get other necessary details from you:

  • Allergies
  • Medications you take
  • Your overall health

We also provide instructions to help you get ready for your surgery. This includes when you should stop eating and drinking before your procedure. It’s important that you follow these instructions carefully. They’re intended for your safety. Not following them may cause a delay in your surgery.

The day before your surgery, we’ll call to confirm your surgery time. We will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

Your Arrival for Surgery

On the day of surgery:

  • Leave all valuables and jewelry at home
  • Arrive at the time provided for you

For information about where to check in and park, please review our Patients & Visitors guide.

You also can learn more about your stay at the hospital.

Just Before Surgery

After checking into the hospital, you’ll go to our pre-op waiting area. There, you’ll change into a hospital gown and meet with your surgical team. They’ll confirm your treatment plan and answer any last-minute questions before you’re taken to the operating room.

You must remove any dentures, eyeglasses, jewelry, prostheses and wigs. We’ll store these items for you, but it’s best to leave all valuables at home.

A nurse takes you to the operating room. Your anesthesiologist uses medicine to put you to sleep before your procedure.

After Surgery

After surgery, you will recover in our post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). Nurses who specialize in caring for people after anesthesia monitor your vital signs and oxygen levels.

We encourage you to move around as soon as you can. This helps:

  • Avoid breathing and lung conditions
  • Prevent blood clots
  • Reduce the length of your hospital stay

If you’re staying overnight in the hospital, you’ll move from the PACU to a surgical recovery unit. Your surgeon will visit you each day you’re in the hospital.

  If you’re going home the same day as your surgery, you will need someone to drive you or accompany you on public transportation.

Going Home

When you’re ready to be discharged, we give you verbal and written instructions on how to care for yourself at home. This includes how to take your medicines, rehabilitation and wound care.

A nurse will call you at home later the same day, or the next day, to see how you’re feeling.

You should avoid driving for 24 hours after having anesthesia. It’s also best to have someone stay with you to help you at home.

If your doctor prescribes pain medication, it’s important that you don’t drink alcohol or drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need avoid food and drink after midnight the night before my surgery?

When you receive anesthesia, it’s more difficult for your body to cough and swallow. This increases the risk of inhaling stomach content, which can cause a lung infection. When you do not eat or drink for at least eight hours, your stomach remains empty. This reduces your risk of inhalation and infection.

Should I take my morning medications before arriving at the hospital?

Your surgeon and/or nurse will tell you what medicines to take or avoid on the day of surgery. If you take any medicines, please take them with only small sips of water.

Why do I need to arrive 90 minutes before scheduled surgery time?

We ask you to arrive 1.5 hours before surgery to make sure we have time to complete all necessary preoperative preparations. When you arrive, you will verify your information at the registration desk. Then you will proceed to the surgical waiting room. A nurse will escort you to the preoperative holding area.

What happens in the holding area?

In the holding area, your nurse will check your vital signs and review the information you provided during the preadmission process. You meet your care team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses. The anesthesiologist reviews your information once more, obtains your consent for anesthesia, and places an IV.

Why do people in the holding area ask me the same questions multiple times?

We repeat some questions or confirm information multiple times to ensure your safety before, during and after surgery. These questions include allergy information and side and site of surgery. We repeatedly ask about only the most vital information.

What should I expect after waking up from anesthesia?

You will spend some time in the recovery room. Our nurses will monitor you for any symptoms related to surgery and anesthesia. You will feel quite drowsy. We give you medicines for pain and nausea to improve your comfort.

If you have same day surgery, a responsible adult must drive you home. Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medication. Your recovery room nurse will review your discharge instructions with you and your family member. Your nurse will call you at home the next day to see how you are doing.

Services & Specialties

Learn about the services and specialties that may be part of your care and recovery.

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