Dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be many things: frightening, stressful, surprising, confusing, and the list goes on. One thing it usually isn’t—easy. Our team is here to help you so that your treatment and care experiences are seamless, uncomplicated, and tailored to your needs. We’re here to coordinate your care, informing you of what you should expect with your surgery:

Please complete your admissions paperwork before you arrive for your surgery. Forms include:

  • Consent for Operation/Procedure & Patient Information form. The registrar will ask you to read this form, so you understand the possible risks. You will be asked to sign this form when you meet with your surgeon.
  • Discharge instructions. You will receive specific instructions about your particular surgery and your surgeon’s discharge preferences.
  • Pain management brochure. You will be given a pain management brochure to help you rate your pain. Throughout your stay with us, your nurses will ask you to rate your pain according to the numeric or picture scale described in the brochure. This scale will help your nurses evaluate and manage your pain. If you have any questions, ask the pre-operative nurse before surgery.
  • Insurance and co-pays. Review your insurance information and pay for any co-pays. Depending on your insurance, co-pays may be collected at this time or billed to you. Visit our Billing & Financial Assistance site for more in-depth information.

You will also be given information about our Cancer Center, anesthesia, and the physicians and clinicians who will care for you during your surgery.

Pre-Operative Area

You'll be taken to a private area where you will change from your clothes to a patient gown. A registered nurse will perform an assessment, after which, you’ll be ready for surgery. The assessment may include:

  • Measuring your weight and vital signs
  • Starting an IV (intravenous) line
  • Drawing lab tests
  • Taking a urine sample
  • Preparing your skin
  • Marking of operative site

You will be offered a warm blanket, magazines, and TV. If you brought your own music, you may bring your music device into the surgical area.

Your operating room (OR) nurse will visit with you and ask the same questions the other nurses have asked you. They will answer your questions and meet your family.

Your surgical oncologist and anesthesiologist will visit with you and give you the appropriate type of anesthesia.

Waiting times will vary. We will make every effort to keep you informed if a delay occurs.

Your family will be shown to a waiting area. Some surgeons prefer to have your family wait in the lobby. Others prefer to have your family wait in your room. Family is not allowed in the operating room during surgery.

Operating Room, Surgical Area

You will either walk or be transported in a wheelchair to the operating area. The OR nurse will visit with you and help make you comfortable. Monitors will be applied and a warm blanket provided. Your anesthesiologist will give you an anesthetic and perform any blocks to numb the pain, if needed.

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

Your recovery will begin in the PACU where you’ll receive individual nursing care and medications to manage your pain. An average time of 30-45 minutes in the PACU is typical.

After you've met specific medical criteria, you will be discharged to the post-operative area. If you are staying the night, you will go directly to your room and skip the post-op area.

Family will not be able to visit you in the PACU.

Post-Operative Area

When you are in the post-operative area, you will be observed and made comfortable until you have met specific medical criteria. You may be here for 30 minutes or as long as four hours. The person taking you home can stay with you in this area.

A registered nurse will take your vital signs, treat any nausea or vomiting, offer fluids, manage your pain, give you prescriptions to fill, and provide discharge education (both written and verbal) to you and to the person taking you home. Your family or visitors will be able to fill your prescriptions at our pharmacy before leaving the facility. Most insurance plans are accepted.

A staff member will accompany you when you are discharged. Some patients feel well enough to walk to their car, but we encourage you to accept our help.

If you have questions after an appointment or a treatment, don’t hesitate to contact a member of your healthcare team. We’re here to help, every step of the way.