Preparing for Surgery

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Preparing for Surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Preparing for Surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center (12 min.)
A short video is available to show you what to expect during your surgical experience.
You may also get the Preparing for Surgery video from the Pre-Admission Testing Office to view at home. Or, if you are admitted as an inpatient in advance, you may watch it in your hospital room.

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

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.

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

Whether you go home the day of surgery or stay in the hospital for more than one day, do not bring valuables to the hospital.

After you arrive in the waiting room of the Pre-Surgical Unit, your nurse will walk you to the pre-operative area. Your nurse will ask you your name, date of birth, and the procedure you are having done. 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.

A family member may wait with you in the pre-operative area until it is time to go to the operating room. Your nurse will give your family directions to the family waiting room—the waiting area for families of patients in surgery—and to the cafeteria.

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.

After Surgery

You will wake up in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, where nurses will keep a close eye on you. It is routine for them to check your blood pressure and pulse often.

  • If you are scheduled to go home the day of surgery, you will go back to the pre-operative area.  You will be discharged only when your anesthesiologist and surgeon decide that you are ready to leave.

    A responsible adult must be present to drive you home.

    Before you leave, your nurse will tell you how to care for yourself after discharge and about any new medicines.  The nurse will give you a number to call if you have any questions.

    Our nursing staff makes every effort to call you at your home the day after surgery to see how you are feeling.  However, you should feel free to call your surgeon’s office at any time and for any reason.

  • If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room on a stretcher when the anesthesiologist says you are ready. Once you are settled, your family may visit you in your room. If you need any help, press your call button. Your nurse or doctor can give you medication to relieve any pain you may have.

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