After surgery you will be cared for in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), where your vital signs will be closely monitored. While some discomfort should be expected after your procedure every effort will be taken to make your stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible. You should tell your nurse if you are experiencing pain. There are many ways in which your pain can be managed. Your anesthesiologist and surgeon will discuss these with you prior to your procedure. It’s possible that you may feel sleepy, nauseous, dizzy or forgetful. Shivering is not uncommon, and can be treated with warm blankets or medication.
Visitation in the PACU is at the discretion of the nurse and physician caring for you and varies depending upon your procedure. The length of your PACU stay is dependent on a number of factors: the type of surgery, your particular medical needs and the judgment of your physicians. Some conditions such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea or administration of certain medications may require additional monitoring before you are deemed appropriate for discharge from the PACU.
Occasionally there will be times when a patient has to wait for their room to be ready following their surgery. When this happens the patient stays in the PACU. They are still followed by their primary team and cared for by the nursing team until their room becomes available.
Your nurse will give you verbal and written instructions for home. An adult must be available to receive the discharge instructions and drive you home. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home or be released to a taxi. During the first 24 hours after your surgery, a responsible adult should stay with you. Please do not stay alone. The post-op nurse will attempt to call you the day after surgery to check on your progress.
You should also:
- Avoid driving for 24 hours and while taking narcotic pain medications.
- Avoid tasks that involve the use of appliances or machinery.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid making critical decisions.
Ask your doctor when you can resume your normal activities: work, exercise or school.