OSF Medical Group

The Day of Surgery

When You Arrive

Female patient in hospital bed with female nurse Even though you may be assigned a time for surgery, this could be changed due to emergencies which may delay your planned operation or cancellations which might allow you to have an operation earlier in the day.

While the surgical department tries to adhere to a schedule, the nature of surgery often makes this impossible.

The best advice is to be prepared for any scheduling changes that may occur.

  • You may be asked to sign consent forms and/or waivers for treatment and insurance.
  • A band with your name will be applied around your wrist.
  • You will be shown where to disrobe and put on a gown, cap, and slippers.
  • As a safety precaution, the nurse will ask you what type of operation you are having. You may be asked to mark and initial the site of the planned operation.
  • Intravenous fluids may be started. Usually this is started in ACU, but it may be placed in the operating room.
  • Depending on your operation, antibiotics might be given before surgery.


The decision as to what type of anesthesia is most desirable will depend on the type of operation, your medical condition as well as input by your surgeon and/or an anesthesiologist.

Various types of anesthesia exist. These include:

Local anesthesia

A very fine needle is used to place an anesthetic around the area before an incision is made to make the wound numb. Typically, some discomfort occurs with injection.

Conscious sedation

In this technique, you are given medication through an intravenous line to make you sleepy, then you are given a local anesthetic. Although patients are not asleep, they usually do not remember much. Procedures such as endoscopy typically use this form of anesthesia.

General anesthesia

This results in putting a patient completely to sleep.

Regional anesthesia

This involves placing medication in your back that results in anesthesia to the lower abdomen and legs. Many women request an epidural during childbirth which is one type of regional anesthesia.

Patients with regional anesthesia typically are less drowsy after an operation. Often they experience less nausea and vomiting.

Nerve block

The nerve to an area of the body is injected with anesthesia to make it numb.

The Operation

  • The nurse will take you to the surgical suite either by walking, wheelchair or on a stretcher. The nurse will be with you at all times.
  • The operating room is cool and brightly lit. Much activity takes place in it.
  • Wires will be attached to your chest, arm and finger. These will keep track of your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and level of oxygen in your blood.
  • An oxygen catheter or mask may be placed on your nose or face.
  • The surgical site will be prepared with an antiseptic solution and surrounded with sterile drapes.
  • If local anesthesia is used, you may feel tugging during the operation. If you feel pain, let the surgeon or anesthesia personnel know so that additional medication can be given to relieve your discomfort.
  • Many people who have anesthesia along with sedation do not remember much about the operation. This is normal.