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Preparing for Surgery: The Operating Room

What to expect the day of surgery

On the day of surgery, you will meet with the medical team involved in your surgery. This will include:

  • Your surgeon

  • The anesthesiologist

  • An operating room nurse

  • Other healthcare providers

Getting ready for surgery

Before your surgery:

  • You may need to change into a hospital gown.

  • You will get an ID bracelet.

  • An intravenous catheter (IV) may be put in arm or hand. This is used to give you anesthetics and other medicines.

  • You may be rolled to the operating room on a stretcher.

What does the operating room look like?

The operating room can be an overwhelming place. The room will likely be cold. This is to minimize bacterial growth. It will have a lot of technical equipment. You may see equipment such as:

  • Operating table. This is in the center of the room. It can be raised, lowered, and tilted in any direction.

  • Operating room lamps. These allow for bright light without shadows during surgery.

  • Monitor screens. You will be connected to various monitors. These keep track of your vital signs. These include your heart rate, oxygen level, and blood pressure.

  • Ventilator. This is a breathing machine. It stands by the head of the operating table. If your procedure is done with general anesthesia, you may have a ventilator will breathe for you during the procedure. It moves oxygen and air in and out of your lungs.

  • Sterile instruments. These are small tools to be used during surgery. They are arranged on a stainless steel table.

  • Video screen. If the procedure is laparoscopic, there will be a video screen for the surgeon to be able to see the area of the surgery.

  • Diathermy machine. This is to control bleeding.

  • Other equipment. If needed, other specialized equipment may be brought into the room. For example, your team may use a heart-lung machine during heart surgery.

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