Over the years many surgical procedures have improved significantly and become minimally invasive, which has dramatically increased the number of outpatient surgeries. However it is important to realize that while some surgeries are considered minor in comparison to others, all surgeries come with risks and no matter what the procedure no surgery should be referred to as simple.

There are several important things a patient should know and remember when having surgery, that may not only reduce recovery time but may also limit certain surgical problems.

  1. Before surgery a patient should be given instructions as to what to do prior to surgery. However one of the main surgical pre-op instructions is not to eat or drink anything after midnight before the surgery date, which includes water. This important instruction should be taken very seriously, I have been a nurse for many years and you will be surprised how many surgeries have to be postponed because of a patient’s non compliance with this instruction. This surgical instruction is crucial because of risk of vomiting during surgery, when a patient is under anesthesia the body still has normal airway reflexes and the aspiration of any stomach contents no matter how little can cause serious if not life threatening consequences. One of the problems aspiration can cause during and after surgery is severe lung infections.
  1. Prior to any surgery inform the physician of any signs of acute illness such as a fever or cold symptoms. In some cases surgeries may be postponed if a patient starts having an acute problem such as a fever or any inflammation of the lungs or breathing difficulty.
  1. Consult with your physician prior to surgery on any medications that you take regularly. Although you physician should already know the full list of your medications some patients forget to inform their physicians of medications they are taking such as aspirin. For most surgical procedures aspirin or other blood thinning medications need to be stopped prior to surgery. However your physician will be able to instruct you on what to do if you’ve been taking blood thinning medications and in some cases the surgery may even need to be postponed for a short time. This is a very important instruction because taking blood thinners such as aspirin can cause unnecessary bleeding issues. It is however vital that you not stop taking any medications including blood thinners unless your physician tells you to do so. For instance, cosmetic surgery clinic in Birmingham providing surgical and non surgical treatments are one of the best clinics in the field. Before undergoing any surgery, it is important to consult first with a physician so you know what to expect. Educating yourself will free yourself from any doubts and worries.
  1. Do not smoke prior to any surgical procedure. It is extremely important that any patient who smokes discuss their smoking habits prior to surgery with their physician. Although your physician may already know a patient smokes, your physician may need to be updated on the amount you smoke such as a pack and 1/2 a day, etc. Although most people may already realize that smoking is bad for your health, smoking also retards the healing process and delays recovery time with many medical procedures.
  1. It is also important to have another responsible individual with you when having any type of surgery. In some instances patients have shown up for surgery without anyone with them, which makes it difficult for handling of any personal items and notification of emergency contacts should an issue arise. As well as, if it is outpatient surgery you will be required to have someone available to drive you home before you can be released.
  1. No surgery comes without risks and it is vital that you throughly discuss all risks with your physician prior to the surgery date. Many patients get to the hospital unclear on not only the procedure they are having, but also the complications and risks of the surgery. Although you will be asked to sign a release prior to surgery it is every patient’s right to completely understand the medical risks as well as the surgical procedure they are having. It is also crucial for every patient to know that while some medical procedures are considered minor than others all surgeries are not without serious risks.
  1. Patients are asked to report for surgery prior to their surgical time in order to be register and have any preoperative tests performed. It is imperative that all patients make sure they come in for surgery at the time requested, because in some cases if a patient doesn’t arrive as instructed the surgery will have to be postponed or delayed considerably while the necessary pre-op tests are completed.
  1. In most instances prior to surgery your anesthesiologist will come in to explain your anesthesia and what if any concerns you may have. Knowing the type of anesthesia your physician has ordered for your surgery and understanding what it means is very beneficial information to any surgery patient.

General anesthesia means you will be put to sleep in some fashion. In the majority of surgeries an IV or intravenous anesthetic will be given. The anesthesiologist will go over the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have. If you are having general anesthesia you will most likely go to recovery after surgery for a short time before being allowed visitors.

Local anesthesia means that you will most likely be awake during the surgery unless your physician has ordered an oral medication to relax you, which in some cases makes patients a little sleepy. Local anesthesia means the body part that is being operated on will be numb but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to feel tugging or some sort of sensation. In the case of C-sections a woman may choose to have a epidural or spinal in which anesthesia blocks the pain but the patient remains awake. During the procedure many times patients are caught off guard by the sensations that they can still feel and in some cases patients may get a little nauseous from either the surgical procedure or the anesthesia.