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Patients Having Surgery

At Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, we know that having surgery can be scary and stressful. Rest assured; you are in good hands. Our staff is dedicated to your safety, comfort and healing. We are here to ensure you have the most safe and comfortable experience possible.

First, get to know the members of your skilled surgical team and then follow your surgical journey step by step.

Get to Know Your Surgical Team 

Your surgical team offers the latest techniques and technologies to speed your recovery. They are dedicated to providing excellent clinical care, and to easing the often-disorienting experience of surgery for patients and their caregivers. The number of team members differs depending on the type of surgery, but most teams include the following: 

  • Surgeon: Guides your care and performs the surgery.
  • Washington University resident physician: In some incidences, this physician may assist with your care under the direction of your surgeon.
  • Anesthesiologist: Evaluates your surgery needs and is specially trained to keep you safe during surgery and in recovery and works to manage your pain.
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA): Safely administers the anesthetics.
  • Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse: Provides your care while you are recovering from anesthesia after surgery.
  • Surgical technicians: Set up a sterile environment, prepare supplies and handle the surgeons requested instruments.
  • Dedicated team of registered surgical nurses: To manage your care under the direction of your surgeon.

Preparing for Surgery

Many factors go into the success of your surgery, please follow these guidelines and consult with your surgeon’s office for additional details regarding preparations for your specific surgery. To find general information about staying at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, see Preparing for Your Stay.

  • Follow these eating and drinking rules: Eat a filling dinner. You cannot eat or drink anything after midnight, including chewing gum, lozenges, mints or water.
  • Take your medication: Take medication as you were instructed by your surgeon or your pre-assessment nurse.
  • Ensure cleanliness: Bathe or shower using any special cleansing solutions or soap that your surgeon instructed you to use. Remove all nail polish from your fingernails. Wear freshly-washed clothes and sleep in clean sheets. This will help prevent infection.
  • Pack your bag: Bring any needed personal items, insurance card and photo ID in your bag. Jewelry, valuables and large amounts of money should be left at home. Find more details on What to Bring.
  • Know where to go: Review the campus map and parking options to ensure there’s no confusion once you arrive. If needed, your driver can drop you off at the front of the hospital and then park their car.
  • Prevent infection: Follow any special instructions given by your surgeon. This might mean bathing or showering depending on the time of your surgery.
  • Come natural: Do not use any nail polish, lotions, deodorant, makeup, perfume or body sprays on the day of surgery.
  • What to wear: Wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable walking shoes and socks. No flip-flops, sandals or Crocs.
  • Take your medication: If instructed, take your medication the morning of your surgery, with a sip of water.
  • Contact us about any health changes: If you suspect you are pregnant, have an infection or if you have had even a minor change in health (cough, cold or fever), please contact your surgeon’s office immediately.

The Day of Your Surgery

On your assigned surgery day, we want you to feel as relaxed as possible. We help you do that by explaining what you can expect below and on the During Your Stay page. Please note: It is very important that you arrive at your scheduled time. If you will be late or you cannot keep your surgery appointment, please notify the scheduling desk at 314.996.8480.

  • Registration: Check in at the front desk located just inside the main entrance of the hospital. After you check in, you will go through hospital registration. Here you will need to submit your co-pay if you have one. We can accept a check or credit card. Then, we will provide you with information on HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices and Patient Rights and Responsibilities.
  • Wait in the waiting area: A team member will take you and your family member and/or a caregiver to a waiting area.
  • Meet your surgical team: A nurse will come and escort you to the pre-operative area where you will meet many of your team members that will be taking care of you.
  • Who can accompany you: Once your pre-operative assessment is complete, one family member and/or a caregiver will be allowed to join you and stay with you during the time your team is preparing you for surgery.
  • Receive a preoperative assessment: A nurse will do an assessment which includes reviewing your medications and health history.
  • Get an IV: We will start an IV in your arm.
  • Discuss anesthesia and pain management: Your anesthesiologist will talk about the most appropriate anesthetic for you and the plan to best manage your pain after surgery.
  • Mark the surgical site: Your surgeon will mark where the surgery will occur.
  • Meet the rest of your team: You will be taken into one of the operating rooms and introduced to the rest of your surgery team.
  • Receive anesthesia: You will be given your anesthesia.
  • Take a preoperative pause: A “time-out” is performed to verify the following: your name, date of birth, procedure site, allergies and presence of any implants or devices.
  • Vitals monitoring: Throughout your surgery your surgical team will take excellent care of you. They will monitor your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Family updates: Updates about your progress will be given to your family member and/or a caregiver by cell phone.
  • Wake-up from anesthesia: You will wake up in the post-operative care unit (PACU) when your surgery is complete. This is where you will recover until ready for discharge.
  • Post -anesthesia monitoring: A post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse and an anesthesiologist will monitor you, keeping you safe and comfortable.
  • Pain assessment: A registered nurse with advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification will attend to you while your pain is measured, assessed and medicated.
  • Transfer to your inpatient room: If your surgeon or procedure requires an overnight stay, a nurse will escort you to one of our hospital rooms.

Planning for Your Discharge

You will be discharged once you meet all the medical criteria and your anesthesiologist signs off on your discharge. Depending on the type of surgery and your surgeon's instructions, the length of time you stay in the hospital will vary. Once you have been cleared for discharge, you’ll:

  • Be given discharge instructions: Your nurse will bring your discharge instructions from your surgeon and review all instructions with you. If you do not understand any discharge information, please ask as many questions as you like so you are confident about what to do when you get home.
  • Be wheeled to your car: You will be safely transported in a wheelchair to your car. 
  • Be met by your dedicated chaperone: Someone will need to drive you home after surgery. For safety reasons, we cannot allow a patient to drive him or herself home following a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. Patients should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Learn more about ensuring a safe and comfortable recovery on the After Your Stay page.

Questions About Your Surgery?

Call your surgeon’s office or the hospital operator at 314.996.8000 so we can assist you.

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Find a doctor or make an appointment: 314.542.WEST (9378) OR TOLL-FREE 1.844.542.9378
General Information: (314) 996.8000
12634 Olive Boulevard
Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141
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