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Same-day Surgery

Same-day Surgery

Alternate Names

  • outpatient surgery


Same-day surgery allows a person having an operation to go home later the same day.

What is the information for this topic?

Medical advances have now made it possible for many people to go home the same day of an operation. For this to happen, everything must go smoothly and the person must feel comfortable. Any same-day surgery may become an overnight stay if necessary.
For same-day surgery, people are asked to come in early. Usually, a person must check in at least an hour or two before the procedure is scheduled to begin. Basic information is taken at the registration desk, then the person is brought into the surgery area.
Several questions and forms may need to be completed before surgery. Phone numbers for emergency contacts, insurance information, and other basic personal information, will need to be recorded.
After this is done, the person is asked to change into a hospital gown. They are then taken to the surgery prep area. The surgery prep room is where a person spends the final minutes before going to the operating room.A person generally lies on a portable bed with wheels while waiting.
Most people will have an intravenous line (IV) started in the surgery prep room if they do not already have one in place. An IV is almost always necessary for surgery because of the variety of fluids and medications a person needs in a short time. Inserting an IV involves putting a needle through the skin and into a vein, usually on the hand or forearm. A bag of fluid is hung so that it drips into the IV.
Blood tests may be required, depending on the surgery and any medical problems. More than one person may ask about the person's medical history. Questions may include medical conditions, medications, and allergies. People will be asked when their last meal was. A recent meal may cause the surgery to be cancelled due to risks. It is important to answer all questions completely and honestly.
The heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature may be recorded, sometimes more than once. If consent forms and other legal documents were not previously completed, they will need to be signed before surgery.
The anesthesiologist usually comes to talk to the individual about the medications and procedures that will be used to control pain and put the person to sleep for the surgery. A mild sedative may be given to relax the person.
Many different people may come to the person's bedside, most of whom are strangers. In some cases, family members will be allowed to wait in the pre-operative room with the person. At other times, this may not be allowed. If a person is not sure who someone is, he or she should feel free to ask. Any last-minute questions should be asked at this time.
If the person has not met the surgeon yet (usually the case only for emergency surgeries), the surgeon will introduce himself or herself. Alternatively, the surgeon may come by and say hello if the person already knows him or her.
At this point, the person is usually wheeled to the operating room on a portable bed or a wheelchair. Many people are drowsy or even asleep from a sedative given earlier. The actual trip to the operating room and the operation are often not remembered at all. The next thing most people remember is waking up in a surgery recovery room after the surgery.
The individual usually wakes up in an area called the surgery recovery room, next to the operating room area. The initial few minutes in the surgery recovery room can be confusing. It is not unusual for people to wake up in the recovery room and have no idea where they are. People go from a deep sleep or heavy sedation to a room they have never seen before.
For most people, the only thing they will remember when they wake up is the last few minutes before surgery. An oxygen mask may be in place when the person wakes up. The IV that was put in before surgery will still be in place. The blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, and temperature are monitored closely. Nausea is very common when people first wake up. Vomiting sometimes occurs. Pain medication is given as needed to control discomfort.
The recovery room is often busy with activity. New people come into the room after surgery as others are leaving. There may be loud beeping noises made by various monitoring machines. When the person meets the criteria for discharge from the surgery recovery room, he or she will be transferred back to the same-day surgery area. After the anesthesia has worn off, the IV is removed and the person can go home.
Someone else must drive the person home in almost all cases. This is because the medication used for pain usually impairs the ability to function normally for several hours. The healthcare professional will give home care instructions before a person leaves. A follow-up appointment and phone number for the professional are usually given at this time. Any questions should be asked before a person goes home.


Principles of Surgery, 1999, Schwartz et al.

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