What to expect on the day of your outpatient surgery
Find out what will happen when you get care at the Outpatient Surgery Center at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
Before you come to the surgery center
Understand how to prepare for your procedure. On the day of your surgery:
- Follow all of your care team’s instructions, including which medicines to take and when to come to the hospital
- Take a bath or shower, and wash your hair. Don’t apply lotion, deodorant, powder, or makeup afterward
- Wear comfortable, clean, loose-fitting clothing and low-heeled shoes
- Leave all valuables, including jewelry, and medications at home
- Remove contact lenses and wear glasses if you use them. Bring a case to store your glasses during your procedure
Can I eat anything or drink water?
Don’t eat anything (including mints or candy) or chew gum after midnight. If you eat something, your surgeon may cancel the procedure for your safety. If your procedure is scheduled:
- Before 1 p.m., you can only drink water between midnight and up to four hours before your surgery
- After 1p.m., you may have clear liquids until 7:30 a.m. that morning. After that, you can only have water up to four hours before your surgery
Arriving at the hospital
View helpful information about the Outpatient Surgery Center, including driving directions and parking information.
When you arrive at the surgery center, sign in at the Community Hospital registration desk. You’ll need a photo ID and your insurance card(s). If you have a deductible, plan to pay it when you register. Read about our billing, insurance, and financial assistance services.
After you check in, we’ll direct you to the Outpatient Surgery Center.
Getting ready for your procedure
Before you go into the operating room (OR), you’ll rest in a waiting area. Count on our team to help you stay warm and comfortable. Expect to:
- Confirm your information with our staff, who will check your name band
- Receive an intravenous (IV) line, a soft and flexible tube typically placed in a hand or arm vein to give you fluids or medication
- Wear a disposable cap to cover your hair
- Wipe your entire body with provided antibacterial wipes if asked
When the OR is ready, a registered nurse (RN) will greet you, review your chart, and ask you questions. A nurse will accompany you to the OR and stay with you throughout the procedure.
How your doctor does your procedure depends on the type of examination or treatment and other factors. Rest assured, your surgeon will use the least invasive options — such as robot-assisted surgery — whenever possible. Throughout your care, your surgical team will monitor your vital signs closely.
Hospital waiting room
Your loved ones are welcome to stay in our waiting area during your procedure. Our surgery staff will communicate with Auxiliary volunteers who keep your family and friends informed of your progress.
Pain control and anesthesia
Your care team will include an anesthesiologist, a doctor who specializes in using medicine to prevent or relieve pain during procedures. You may receive:
- Local anesthesia – Injects medicine around nerves to cause numbness (loss of feeling)
- Regional anesthesia, such as a spinal, epidural, or nerve block injection – Injects medicine into the spinal area or around nerves to numb part of the body
- Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) – Uses an IV to give you medication that relaxes you (sedation) or prevents pain (analgesics)
- General anesthesia – Causes loss of consciousness so you don’t feel pain or remember the procedure
Potential benefits and risks of anesthesia
You have the choice to receive anesthesia and surgery. Rely on your care team and anesthesiologist to explain the benefits and risks of anesthesia. Tell your care team if you’re allergic to anesthesia or other medications.
Anesthesia may help control or prevent pain, reduce anxiety, or keep your vital signs stable during your procedure.
Though rare, potential risks of all types of anesthesia include:
- Respiratory (breathing) problems
- Low blood pressure, which may need treatment with medications or intravenous (IV) fluids or require a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU)
- Nausea, vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, allergic reaction, skin rash, fever, cardiac arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder), cardiac arrest, or coma
Risks of general anesthesia
General anesthesia may cause:
- Sore throat or hoarseness
- Bleeding or injury to the skin, lips, eyes, or blood vessels
- Dental damage
- Aspiration (breathing foreign substances into the lungs)
- Infection, such as pneumonia
- Collapsed lung
- Heart attack
Risks of regional anesthesia
Risks of regional anesthesia include:
- Short- or long-term headache or backache
- Nerve damage, which may require further treatment or be permanent
If you have a nerve block that isn’t fully effective, you might receive another one, or you may need general anesthesia.
Alternatives to anesthesia and sedation
If you have questions or concerns about anesthesia or sedation, talk to your doctor about:
- Receiving a different type of anesthesia instead of IV or regional anesthesia. For example, your doctor may be able to do the procedure using only local anesthesia, so you never lose consciousness
- Reevaluating the need for the planned procedure
Post-operative (post-op) care
After your procedure, you’ll receive monitoring in a recovery room as the effects of anesthesia wear off. Specially trained nurses will:
- Monitor your vital signs
- Encourage you to take deep breaths and cough
- Keep you warm and comfortable
- Give you medication
In the recovery room:
- Don’t touch your incision area
- Ask your nurse if you need help keeping your hands clean
- Tell your nurse if your dressing (bandage) is damp, loose, or soaked with blood
How long will I stay in the recovery room?
Most people spend about 90 minutes in the recovery room. But the time varies for each patient.
When can I go home?
Once your care team says it’s okay, you’ll be able to leave the hospital. Read general guidelines on how to recover and care for any incisions at home and when to call your doctor.
Rest assured if something unexpected happens, Community Hospital is ready. Depending on the results of your surgery, you may benefit from staying at the hospital overnight for extra care.