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BMC Surgery Patient Instructions

Pre-Operative Interview

Some time before your surgery, you will be scheduled for a pre-operative interview. This will happen through either a phone call or during a pre-operative visit to the hospital. You will be contacted regarding the date and location of your pre-operative interview.

If you plan to have your pre-operative interview via telephone, be sure to read through the information packet given to you by your surgeon prior to the phone call. We strongly urge you to complete the health history questionnaire referred to as "One Medical Passport." Please click on the link to this questionnaire on the BMC website and have it available for reference during your phone inter

In the Days Before Your Surgery

Please follow these guidelines carefully as you prepare for surgery: this will help make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

  • Please tell your doctor if you get a cold, cough, fever, stomach flu, or asthma attack any time in the week before surgery. Please don't wait until the day of your operation. Call your doctor as soon as any of these occur.
  • If you will be going home on the same day as your surgery (or if there is a chance you may go home), please make sure a responsible adult will be able to take you. For your safety, you will not be allowed to leave or drive yourself home. If you live alone, it is best if a family member or friend stays with you on the night after your surgery.
  • Please do not smoke for at least two days before surgery. If you smoke, it may take you longer to recover from anesthesia.
  • Your doctor or nurse will discuss your medications with you in the days before your surgery. Please be sure to ask any questions you might have about your medication. You should discuss ALL medications with your doctor or nurse before surgery, non-prescription or "over-the-counter" medicines, herbal supplements, and any a physician has prescribed.
  • You will be told which of your usual medications to take before surgery. In some cases, you should NOT take aspirin or aspirin-like products or herbal supplements for a minimum of two weeks prior to surgery.
  • The operating room schedule sometimes changes due to unexpected events. You will be contacted by OR scheduling the evening before surgery on regular business days to be given the exact arrival time for admission. For surgery scheduled on Mondays, you will receive this information of Friday. This will help us avoid delays and cancellations on the day of your surgery.

The Evening Before Your Surgery

  • You should not eat or drink after 12 midnight the evening before your procedure, unless an anesthesiologist tells you otherwise. Keep your stomach empty!
  • No gum, mints, or hard candy are allowed.
  • Your anesthesiologist or pre-procedure nurse will tell you which of your regular medications to take the morning of surgery. You make take them with a small sip of water.
  • Your surgery will be cancelled if you do not follow these instructions.

When You Arrive at the Hospital

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing that you can easily put on after your procedure.
  • Makeup and nail polish will need to be removed before surgery.
  • Please do not use body lotion on the morning of your surgery.
  • Do not bring valuables such as large sums of money or credit cards.
  • All jewelry and contact lenses must be removed before surgery, so please leave them home. Remember to bring a case for your glasses.
  • If you anticipate that you may need crutches, a cane or a walker, and have these at home, please bring it with you.
  • If you have a health care proxy, please bring a copy with you to the hospital.


Under state and federal law, you have rights about making your own health care decisions. You also have ways to be sure that your wishes will be followed even if you become incapable of making decisions on your own. You can do this my making advance directives (statements written ahead of time) about your health care. In Massachusetts, the Health Care Proxy is the recognized document (M.G.I. Chapter 201C).

You may be asked, whether or not you have signed a health care proxy. If you have done so, we will file it in your current medical record.

  • If you are going to be (or may be) admitted overnight, please bring a small bag of personal items. It is best if you have someone bring these to you once you are in your room.
  • Please arrive at the hospital at the time specified. We need you to arrive early for two reasons. Our OR schedule sometimes changes because of unexpected events, and we need some flexibility in scheduling patients for their surgery. Second, we will need time to finish preparing you for surgery. You may want to bring a book or newspaper to read in case you have to wait before you are called for surgery.
  • If you are having a local anesthetic ONLY (no sedation) for your procedure, please check with your surgeon about your arrival time.

Once You've Checked In

You will be asked to sit in the waiting area until a nurse comes to greet you. The nurse will take you to a private area so you can get ready for your surgery. One family member can come with you at this time. Please feel free to ask the nurse any questions you may have.

Your nurse will give you a hospital gown. You can give your clothes and other belongings to a staff member.

 A surgical liaison will greet you and your family prior during the admission process.  This staff communicates with the operating room and will keep your family informed of your progress.  The surgical waiting area for family is located on the Main floor of the hospital adjacent to the OR's. This area provides beverages, muffins and bagels for families. Should your family decide to leave this area during your surgery they will be instructed by the liaison to leave contact instructions.

When It's Time for Your Surgery

In the operating room, a blood pressure cuff will be put on your arm and an EKG will be attached. Other equipment may also be used, depending on the type of surgery you are having. This is all routine. Again, feel free to ask any questions.

There are several types of anesthesia. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will talk with you to determine which type is best for you. The main types are listed here:

  • Local Anesthesia:
    This is the simplest type of anesthesia. Medicine is injected to numb the area of the operation, like having Novocain at the dentist. This is only done for very minor operations and can be given by your surgeon.
  • Local Anesthesia with Moderate Sedation:
    Sometimes along with local anesthesia, medicine is given to help you relax. The medicine is given through your IV line and is monitored by a registered nurse.
  • Monitored Anesthesia Care:
    This is similar to local anesthesia with conscious sedation, except the amount of sedation given may be greater. A member of the department of anesthesia administers this type of medication.
  • Regional Anesthesia:
    This is when anesthesia is given near a nerve so that an entire area of the body becomes numb. A "spinal" is an example of regional anesthesia. It is sometimes called a "nerve block" and is administered by a member of the department of anesthesia.
  • General Anesthesia:
    This is the type of anesthesia that will "put you to sleep". It is given through IV. With this type of deep "sleep", you can't feel or hear anything during the operation. A member of the department of anesthesia administers general anesthesia.

After Your Surgery

After your operation, you will be brought to a recovery room (PACU - post anesthesia care unit). A PACU nurse will care for you as the effects of anesthesia or sedation are wearing off. You may have some nausea or vomiting right after surgery. This is not unusual and your nurse will be there to help you if you are nauseated. Other symptoms can occur after surgery. These are related to the anesthesia and the surgical process. They include: shivering, headache, muscle soreness, sore throat, nervousness, or sleepiness. These symptoms are usually gone within 24 hours. If you have pain, please tell your nurse. Medications can be given to ease the pain.

If You Are Going Home on the Day of Surgery

You will stay in recovery until you are awake, able to drink fluids, and able to walk safely. Your nurse will make sure that any pain or discomfort is adequately controlled. Before you leave, your nurse will review written discharge instructions with you and your family or friend. You must be accompanied home by a responsible adult and it is recommended that a responsible adult stays with you for 24 hours following discharge from the hospital.

If You Are Being Admitted to the Hospital

You will stay in recovery until you are ready to go to your room. Staff will make sure that your belongings are transported to your room. Your family and friends are welcome to visit you in your room. They can check with your nurse about visiting policies on the unit.

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