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Preparing for your Surgery

Before Your Surgery

Your doctor will explain your surgery to you and answer your questions. He or she will ask you to sign a consent form for the surgery.

In addition, you will be asked to sign a consent form to receive blood in case you need it during the operation. If you and your doctor feel it is best to set aside your own blood, or provide your own blood donors, it can take about two weeks to process. Please talk with your doctor as early as possible about this.

Pre-Admission Testing (PAT)

You will get an appointment to meet with a nurse in our Pre-Admission Testing Office. If you are unable to meet with the nurse in person, you will get a call from the nurse at home. Your nurse will review your medical history and any medicines that you take, make sure you understand your planned surgery, and answer questions you and your family may have. We will schedule your evaluation at least two weeks before your surgery to make sure all of your tests and doctor visits are complete.

Your nurse will tell you what tests you need to have done, such as blood tests, X-rays, an EKG (electrocardiogram) or any other studies. These tests will be done as an outpatient. They can be done at Fox Chase Cancer Center (preferred choice), at your primary doctor's office, or at another site approved by your insurance plan.

The Day Before Surgery

One of the nurses from the Pre-Surgical Unit will call you the afternoon before your surgery. You will be told what time to arrive and where to check in for surgery.  You will be told what medicines you should or should not take.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

It is very important that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight. This includes gum and mints.

The Day of Surgery

We will call you between 3–4:30 pm one business day before your scheduled surgery to go over any instructions and to let you know what time you need to be at the hospital. If you do not get a call by 4:30 pm, please call 215-728-2664.

What to Bring for Any Surgery

  • Photo ID/insurance and prescription cards
  • Any medications your surgeon told you to bring, and a list of all of your medications and allergies
  • Your inhaler, CPAP or BiPAP, if you use one
  • Your cane, crutches or walker, if you use them
  • Eyeglasses and a storage case; do not bring or wear contact lenses
  • Other Suggested Intems for Inpatient Surgeries
    • Flat, comfortable shoes or sneakers (slip-on shoes are easy to wear after surgery)
    • Elastic waistband pants and pajamas
    • Personal toiletries

Clothing, Jewelry, and Personal Items

  • Do not wear makeup, hair pins, hair pieces or contact lenses.
  • Remove all nail polish from at least one fingernail. If you are having foot surgery, remove all nail polish from all toes.
  • Leave credit cards, large amounts of cash, valuables and jewelry at home (including wedding rings, religious medals and body piercings).
  • Wear comfortable clothes.

Surgical Family Waiting Suite

Once you are moved to the pre-surgery area and operating room, we will ask your family and friends to stay in the Marian and Emma Brungard Surgical Family Waiting Suite on the 3rd floor of the hospital. Your family and friends should sign in with the volunteer in the waiting area. Signing in will help the surgeon to locate your family after your surgery. Please also give us the telephone number of someone you would like us to call after your surgery is over.

Marking Your Surgical Site

It is very important to identify the site of your planned surgery. Before your surgery, your doctor may mark the site on your body. Please do not shave or trim the hair in the area of your surgery.

After you arrive in the waiting room of the Pre-Surgical Unit, your nurse will walk you to the pre-operative area. To prove your identity, we will ask you to tell us your name, date of birth, and the surgery you are having. We will give you an ID bracelet that staff will check at different times before your surgery and during your stay. Your nurse will take your blood pressure and pulse and review your medical history.  You will also meet the anesthesia staff and be seen by a member of your surgical team.

Meeting the Anesthesiologist

Your anesthesiologist will meet with you in the pre-operative area before your surgery to discuss your medical condition and answer your questions. The goal of the anesthesia plan is to keep you safe and comfortable during your surgical experience. Your anesthesiologist will be with you in the operating room and the recovery room.

You will need to sign a consent form for anesthesia.

In the Operating Room

The operating room can be a bright and noisy place with doctors and nurses talking and getting ready for your surgery.  

When you get to the operating room, your nurse will ask you many of the same questions that you have already answered.  

Once you have moved over to the operating room bed, your nurse will cover you with warm blankets to keep you comfortable; the operating room can be a little chilly in the beginning. Your nurse will also put a strap across your legs for your safety and gel cushions under your heels and arms for comfort.

Once you are settled safely, the next thing you will probably remember is waking up in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit.

What to Expect After Surgery

  • You will be moved to the recovery room, known as the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit).
  • You will be cared for by the nurses and anesthesia team as you recover from your anesthesia.
  • Your surgeon may call or visit your family or friends to let them know how you are doing.
  • In the recovery room, noises may sound louder than normal.
  • You may have blurred vision, chills, nausea or a dry mouth.
  • A nurse will check your surgical dressing and blood pressure often.
  • You will have an IV and/or may have other tubes.
  • Your surgery site may hurt or burn, so ask your nurse for pain medication if you need it.
  • We may ask you to breathe deeply and cough to help clear your lungs.
  • Your nurse may ask you to move around in the bed.

If you are having outpatient surgery, you will return to the Pre-Operative Unit to get ready to go home. Before you leave, nursing staff will give you instructions about your care at home. You must have a family member or friend drive you home after surgery. If you are an inpatient, we will take you to your hospital room.

Designated Driver
You must have a driver take you home from the hospital.

To be sure you are safe and have the help you need after your same-day surgery, you must have a driver over age 18 to take you home from the hospital. You cannot take a cab, train or bus alone. Inpatients will receive instructions when discharged.

Follow-Up Visit

If needed, please schedule a follow-up visit before you leave. If you are unable to do so, please call 215-728-2600.

National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP)

Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Surgery Department is part of the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. The mission of this program is to gather information about our patients 30 days after surgery.
After your surgery, you may get a phone call or letter from a surgical clinical reviewer asking about your recovery. This information will be used to improve the quality of care at Fox Chase.

Recovering from Surgery

Important steps that you and your caregiver can take to prevent any problems following your procedure.
(Some of the steps in this video may not apply to your procedure.)  

More about

If you have more questions, call your surgeon or the Pre-Admission Testing Office at 215-728-2566.

Your Care Team

Cancel or Change Your Appointment

If you need to cancel or reschedule a follow-up appointment, please contact us as soon as possible, at least 24 hours in advance, at 215-728-2600.

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