The steps below are general guidelines only, and are not meant to replace your physician’s preoperative recommendations.
In the Weeks to Hours Leading up to Surgery
- Learn about the Specific Procedure You Are Having
Dr. Subach’s team has extensive experience in the fields of both Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery and are available to answer any questions you may have. Fully understanding your condition, as well as the risks and benefits of any surgical procedure, can help you relax and better prepare for a successful outcome. You will have a 1 hour pre-operative visit scheduled with Diana DeWolfe, PA-C, approximately 1-2 weeks prior to your scheduled surgery. During this visit, you will be given information which spans the timeline of check-in to the hospital on the day of surgery through follow up in the office 2 weeks after your procedure. During that visit, ask any questions you may have.
- Take Care of Yourself
Practice eating well, staying fit, and getting lots of rest, especially in the weeks leading up to your procedure. If you smoke, try to quit a minimum of two weeks prior to surgery but best if 6 weeks or greater. The healthier you are, the more likely you are to have a smooth recovery. Be sure to follow your physician’s instructions regarding eating, drinking, smoking and taking medications in the weeks before your procedure.
- Make a “To Do” List
Do you have pets or children who will need care in your absence? Do you need to alert your boss or coworkers about your plans for surgery and recovery? Making a “to do” list will ensure that all your arrangements are made in advance. Also consider making a packing list. Even if you’re going home the same day as your surgery, you’ll want to bring some things to the Hospital with you. Valuables are best left at home. Items you’ll want to consider:
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes – To wear after your procedure.
- Makeup – For most surgeries, you’ll be asked not to wear makeup for the procedure.
- Contacts/Eyeglasses/Dentures – In some cases, wearing contact lenses during surgery can cause serious harm to your eyes. If you decide to wear your contact lenses to the hospital, bring a contact lens case and solution, as well as eyeglasses and an eyeglass case. If you wear dentures, you will be asked to remove them.
- Medications – Even if you are going home the same day as your surgery, you should bring your medications (including insulin if you are diabetic) to the Hospital. If you are to be admitted to the hospital, even for an overnight stay, you will be provided with all necessary medications according to Dr. Subach’s orders.
- Living Will - If you have a living will, bring a copy with you to the Hospital.
- Food Shop before Your Surgery
The diet recommended post surgery is light and easily digestible and high in protein. It is recommended that you start with crackers, soup and then advance your diet as tolerated. Buy or have prepared a variety of your favorite easily digestible foods at home. Remember to drink plenty of water while you are recovering.
- Arrange for Help with Prescriptions
The Hospital does have an outpatient pharmacy, but the hours are limited, making it difficult to guarantee they will be able to dispense medications to go home with our patients. So that you will easily be able to fill the prescriptions you need, arrange in advance for a family member/friend to be available to do so.
- Arrange for Transportation
After any procedure in which you are administered anesthetic, you will not be permitted to drive yourself home from the Hospital. Arrange for a friend or family member to accompany you and help you with your immediate postoperative needs.
- Plan to Be Clean
Patients should bathe on the day of surgery, prior to arriving at the Hospital.
- Plan for a Smooth Recovery
Ask your physician what you should expect in the days and weeks after your procedure. Purchase any necessary supplies in advance, and make sure you have adequate postoperative help, whether from a family member or professional caregiver.
What to Expect on the Day of Surgery
Please plan to arrive 2 hours prior to your scheduled procedure. The hospital will confirm this time with you in a phone interview conducted 24-48 hours prior to your procedure.
You will check in at the Surgical Front Desk, located on the 2nd floor of Virginia Hospital Center. A nurse will escort you to a small room in which you will begin preparing for surgery. Family and friends are welcome but space is limited. They will be asked to wait in the surgical waiting room.
- Preoperative Holding
A nurse will place an arm band on your wrist, identifying you and your surgeon. If you have allergies, a red band will be used to alert the staff. You will be asked many times throughout your stay to state your name and the procedure you are having. DO NOT be alarmed, this is a patient safety standard used in all hospital settings. You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove all jewelry, makeup, contact lenses, dentures, and under garments. The nurse will start an IV. You will meet the anesthesia team who will be taking care of you during your operation. You will see Dr. Subach prior to the operation to confirm the planned procedure. He will mark the approximate surgical site, sign your consent form and can answer any questions you may have.
It is the goal of the Hospital to provide you with outstanding patient care, however, we have no control over the operating room schedule, and you may be delayed due to an emergency or an unanticipated delay. We will make every attempt to keep you informed. Please bring a book or something to occupy you while you are waiting.
- Operating Room
You may or may not remember the operating room, due to the medications you are given in the holding area. The temperature is kept cool; you will be given a warmed blanket to keep you comfortable. A safety strap is placed across your body. All members of the team will identify you and your procedure before they begin. Your privacy and respect is of utmost importance to all of us. Someone will be with you at all times.
- Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)
After your procedure, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). A nurse will be with you the entire time. The length of stay depends on your surgery and the type of anesthesia you received. The nurse will keep you warm and comfortable. Pain Control is very important; you will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10 after the surgery. You may not leave the PACU until your pain level is 5 or below.
Once you are in the PACU, Dr Subach will find your family member(s)/friends to discuss details of the surgery. Your visitors should expect approximately a one to two hour period that you will spend in the recovery area, and then you will be taken to a private room.
- Surgical Unit
After the PACU, you will be taken to your room and your family and friends may visit with you. All rooms in the Virginia Hospital Center are private rooms. Your surgical team will write your post operative orders for the Nursing Staff on the unit.