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Surgical Care

Pre- and Post-Surgery Information

What is the first step?

The scheduling of your procedure is handled by your surgeon’s office in partnership with you.  You may have to have some specific tests and/or Xrays performed prior to your surgery.  It is very important that you follow your instructions carefully and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or have difficulty completing tests that have been ordered for you.

What is my role in preparing for surgery?

These instructions are very important and need to be followed to ensure your safety.

  • Bring a list of all your medications with you to the hospital along with information on dosage and how often it is taken.  This would include any creams or ointments, herbals, dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications.
  • Be sure your surgeon is aware if you are taking blood thinner medication, aspirin or aspirin products on a regular basis.  You will be instructed on how to take them around the time of your surgery.
  • If you routinely take blood pressure, heart or seizure medication you may be instructed to take it the morning of your surgery with a small sip of water.  If you take diabetic medications/Insulin, you will be instructed on how to take them the day of your surgery by the Pre-Surgical Services Nurse.
  • If you feel ill or experience any physical changes in your condition, please contact your surgeon immediately.

You must make arrangements for a competent adult to accompany you to and from the hospital (no matter what form of transportation you will be using) and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours if you are having outpatient surgery, to assist you as you recuperate.

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours prior to surgery.
  • Refrain from smoking at least 24 hours prior to surgery.  All TriHealth facilities are smoke-free.
  • Do not eat any solid foods or drink any fluids that you cannot see through beginning 8 hrs before you are to arrive at the hospital for surgery. You may have clear liquids (ex: coffee without cream, water, soda, sports drink, clear juice without pulp) up until 2 hrs before you are to arrive at the hospital. You may be given other specific instructions about what to drink - such as with the Enhanced Recovery Program (ERP) or if you are to do a bowel prep. Please follow these instructions carefully.
  • Take a shower/bath as directed with antimicrobial soap.  DO NOT shave in the area where your incision will be for at least 24 hrs. before your surgery.
  • Do not chew gum the morning of your surgery.


What should I remember on the day of my surgery?

Remember—don’t eat or drink unless specifically told to do so.  Some patients having certain types of surgery are part of a special program called Enhanced Recovery Program (ERP) and will be given very specific instructions to follow.

  • Take the medications you were instructed to take with a small sip of water only.  You may brush your teeth provided nothing is swallowed.
  • Wear loose comfortable clothing—avoiding garments that need to be pulled over your head.  Wear flat-heeled shoes.
  • Do not wear makeup, nail polish, perfume or body lotion.
  • Remove all jewelry before coming to the hospital and leave all valuables at home.  The facility is not responsible for lost items.
  • If applicable bring a case for contacts and/or glasses, dentures, hearing aids.
  • Bring your driver’s license or photo ID and a copy of your health insurance cards.
  • If applicable please bring any Living Will and/or Healthcare Power of Attorney documentation.  If a guardianship or Healthcare Power of Attorney is in effect, you must provide these documents by day of surgery.

***Failure to follow these instructions may result in delay or cancellation of your surgery.


What do I need to know when I arrive at the hospital?

  • You will be asked to arrive about 2 hours before your scheduled procedure time unless you are specifically directed differently.
  • Valet Parking is available at Good Samaritan and Bethesda North Hospitals.  Signs will be directed for parking at all other TriHealth facilities. Please ask any team member if you need assistance.
  • A patient identification band will be placed on your arm for your safety.  Please check to see that it is accurate.  It will be checked often as you progress through your surgery process.


What can I expect in the pre-operative area?

  • To ensure your safety, all healthcare providers you encounter will be checking for correct identification, the presence of allergies, the planned procedure, and the surgical site marking.
  • In addition to the identification band, in the pre-operative area the nurse will place an allergy band on your wrist if you have allergies and assure that your surgeon has explained the procedure to you, along with the risks, benefits and alternatives and that you understand.  Any additional questions you may have will be directed to your surgeon at that time.
  • You will change into a hospital gown and have your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, respirations, temperature and oxygen saturation) recorded.
  • Your pre-op assessment and further education will be completed by your nurse.  There continues to be opportunity for your questions to be answered.
  • You will speak to your anesthesiologist about your plan of care (unless your surgery is with a local anesthetic only).
  • There may be surgical residents assigned to help with your care and follow you throughout your stay.  They are always under the supervision of your doctor and will only follow your doctor’s direction.
  • Your surgical procedure will again be confirmed and the surgical site will be marked by your surgeon or his assistant.
  • An intravenous line (IV) will be started for your prescribed fluids and medications.
  • You will be taken to the operating room by the operating room nurse who will remain with you during your Surgery.


What can I expect in the recovery room when my surgery is complete and when can I go home?

  • You will awaken from your surgery in the recovery room and a nurse will be with you to care for you there.
  • You may have a sore throat or hoarse voice after surgery if you’ve had a general anesthetic. This is a common temporary side effect. 

FOR PATIENTS ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL AFTER SURGERY: The time that you will need to stay after your operation varies depending on the type of your surgery, anesthesia and medical condition but often is between one and two hours. Our goal is to prepare you for the care you need then allow you to settle in and begin your recuperation in the comfort of your own home. You may be surprised how quickly you feel ready to leave.

Before you are discharged you will:

  • Be encouraged to drink fluid as tolerated.
  • Be able to urinate adequately if you had inguinal hernia surgery.
  • Receive and understand discharge instructions and information.
  • Have all questions answered and home plan understood.
  • May receive prescriptions for any new medications from your surgeon. Your nurse will provide education on these new medicines and how to resume your current medications at home.

FOR PATIENTS ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL AFTER SURGERY: After your surgery is finished and you have completed the first phase of your recovery from anesthesia, you will be taken to your room on the nursing unit. There the nursing staff will provide for your healthcare needs. You may want to ask a family member or friend to be available to help you during this time also. Together you will learn and prepare to be able to take care of your needs and assure your healing process at home after discharge.


How will my pain be managed?

You will most likely experience some pain or discomfort after your surgery. It will decrease throughout the healing process. Pain medication will be provided to minimize your discomfort and promote your recovery.

Your pain is real and only you know how it feels. The nurses will ask you often about your pain and to rate it on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain. Your nurse will give you medication and provide other comfort measures such as positioning or ice packs, based on that rating. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as we can.

To control your pain after discharge, use your pain medication and other comfort measures as prescribed. If activity increases your pain—take the medication before that activity. Notify your surgeon if your pain is not relieved.

  • Consider some alternatives or supports to pain medication. These can include:
  • Deep breathing.
  • Distraction from the pain. Talking, television, music, video games and reading are all distractions.
  • Comforting touch.
  • Ice pack to the incision can prevent swelling and decrease pain.
  • Vibration, for example, by gentle tapping, can block pain.
  • Imagery – Imaging a place that reminds you of pleasant memories.


What about my recovery at home?

Your nurse will review your specific discharge instructions and give them to you in writing.

General Reminders:

  • As your physician has explained to you, all surgeries have a risk that things may not go exactly as planned. If anything unexpected should occur, please be assured that your physician will be with you every step of the way to manage any additional care you should require.
  • Plan to spend the remainder of the surgery day or first day at home resting with an adult to help you for the first 24 Hrs.  It may be several days before you begin to get back to some of your normal activities.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours after surgery and while taking strong pain medications prescribed.
  • Begin meals with clear liquids like broth, Gatorade and soda then progress to solid foods as tolerated (unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon).  You may experience some nausea initially.
  • Tips to prevent nausea/vomiting include:
    • Rest either in a sitting position or in a propped lying position. Activity may worsen nausea and may lead to vomiting.
    • Eat slowly
    • Rest after eating with your head elevated about 12 inches above your feet.
    • Smelling peppermint or drinking ginger ale may help treat nausea.
    • Call your doctor if this persists.
  • The sedation you received during your surgery may affect your memory and mental judgment for the next 24 hours. Avoid these activities during that time:
    • Use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
    • Do not make important business or personal decisions
    • Avoid use of machinery/electrical equipment


When do I call my surgeon for advice?

If you have: 

  • A fever greater than 101° F lasting greater than 1-2 hours.
  • Excessive bleeding, drainage, redness, or other problems at the surgical site.
  • Severe pain after taking prescribed pain medication.
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Hives, rash, or itching.
  • Numbness, tingling, increased pain, or bluish, white cool extremities around an ace bandage or dressing.
  • An inability to have a bowel movement for several days or are unable to pass gas.
  • Any incision that opens
  • Unable to urinate within 6 hours of surgery.
  • A drain that stops working or a large increase in the amount of drainage.



Your follow-up visit:

  • You will need to have a follow-up visit with your surgeon in the office. If this is not already scheduled, please call the office to make an appointment.

We thank you for choosing us for your surgical care!  We are here to help you through the process and are available should you need us.

Bethesda North Hospital - Inpatient Surgery
10500 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242
Pre-Surgical Services 513 865 5170

Same Day Surgery 513 865 1171

Good Samaritan Hospital
375 Dixmyth Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220-2475
Call 513 862 1400