Preparation For Surgery
Having surgery can be confusing and sometimes a bit scary. Take a few minutes to read through this quick description of your surgery day, as well as pre-surgery preparation on your part, and what to expect in the days to weeks following surgery.
We will schedule an appointment for you 1-2 weeks prior to your surgery date to complete the necessary paperwork. This includes a brief history and physical examination, review of pre-operative clearance notes (if we requested one from your primary care doctor), surgical consent forms, and providing you with your postoperative medications. It is often helpful if you can write down a list of questions you have – it’s difficult to remember everything on the day of your appointment. It is important to fill your prescriptions immediately – they will expire. Any braces, slings, and crutches will be provided and fit at this appointment as well. Finally, you will be given an instruction sheet outlining the place and time of surgery.
The Day Before Surgery
Eat a light dinner and drink fluids the evening before your surgery. Do not consume milk products or food after midnight of the evening prior to your surgery date. Additionally, we recommend that you do not smoke or consume alcohol for at least 48 hours prior to surgery. Within 6 hours of your arrival time, you must not eat, drink, or smoke, including ice, gum, or mints.
The Day Of Surgery
Give yourself plenty of time to get to surgery, find parking, and make your way to registration. All of our surgeries take place at either Minimally Invasive Surgery of Hawaii or The Queens Medical Center. Addresses and maps can be reviewed below. Review the instruction sheet you were given at your pre-operative appointment. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and please bring comfortable shoes or slippers. You will need to undress and wear a gown during surgery. Nail polish, false fingernails, makeup, jewelry, and watches should not be worn the day of surgery.
Pre-Operative Holding Area
After registration, you will be walked to the preoperative holding area and given a gown to change into. All of your belongings will be placed in a bag and held for you throughout the duration of the procedure. Your preoperative nurse will then start an IV and review your medical history. Your anesthesiologist will meet with you to discuss the planned procedure and address any concerns regarding anesthesia that you might have. Because of the types of surgeries done in our practice, you will often be offered a nerve block – this is a pre-operative procedure in which local anesthetic is injected around nerves of the surgical extremity or area. A nerve block is not required, and you should feel free to discuss the pros and cons of the procedure with your anesthesiologist. Finally, Dr. Chun will meet with you to mark the surgical site and answer any further questions before heading back to the operating room.
The following are some general guidelines and the expected recovery course after your procedure.
Immediately After Surgery
Following the completion of surgery, you will be brought to the recovery unit where a team of nurses and anesthesiologists will help you recover from anesthesia and control immediate post operative pain. The amount of pain you experience will depend on whether or not you chose to receive a nerve block preoperatively. Most people will remain in recovery for 30-45 minutes. After your pain and any nausea is under reasonable control, your family/friend will be contacted to pick you up, and you will be escorted by your recovery nurse to your waiting car. If you are having an inpatient (overnight) procedure, you will be taken to your hospital room at this time. Lastly, you will be given postoperative instructions specific to your surgery.
The First 48-72 Hours
Post-operative pain is at its worst in the first 48-72 hours. If you had a nerve block, expect the block to begin wearing off 8-12 hours after surgery; it is not uncommon to have lingering numbness for up to 24-48 hours. Try to stay ahead of your pain – don’t wait until your pain level is at a 9 or 10 to take medication, and be sure to take a dose of pain medication before going to sleep if your block is still in effect to dull the onset of pain. For most of Dr. Chun’s procedures, it is okay and recommended to take naproxen or ibuprofen in addition to your pain medication. Make sure to keep track of how much pain medication you have – if you need a refill, you must contact the clinic during regular business hours. Drink lots of water and follow Dr. Chun’s postoperative instructions that were given to you after surgery.
Postoperative Weeks 1-2
You will have a postoperative visit scheduled within the first two weeks of surgery, depending on the type of procedure you had. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our clinic at 521-8100.