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Day of Surgery

The information below reflects what generally happens on the day of surgery. Depending on your specific procedure, there may be some differences.

Pre-Operative Area

In preparation for surgery, several steps take place in the pre-operative area. You will be asked to change into a gown and robe, as well as receive an identification band and any applicable allergy bands. During this time, you will have many individuals participating in your care—each one is required to identify you prior to giving any care. That means each person will ask your name and date of birth, and you will be saying it often. This procedure is a legal requirement written for your protection the surgery center is kept cool for infection-control purposes, and you will have heated, soft blankets for your comfort. An IV for fluids and medication will be started. Your surgeon will check on you to see how you are doing, confirm and mark the operative site, and clarify anything you may not fully understand. You will meet with a member of your anesthesia care team before surgery to talk about the different kinds of anesthesia, risks, benefits, and any problems you may have had from anesthesia with previous surgeries. After discussion and when applicable, your anesthesia provider will instill a regional block allowing you optimal postoperative pain management. Just before surgery, your hair is covered with a surgical hat and you are moved to your surgery room.


The surgical staff moves you into sterile surgical suite, where the anesthesia team administers the anesthesia you discussed together prior to surgery. The expert team of nurses, surgical technicians, physician assistant, anesthesia staff, and your surgeon work in concert to restore what needs repair. When the surgery is complete, the anesthesia team and Operating Room nurse will take you to Phase I to recover.

Phase I

The first phase of recovery following surgery lasts about a 30 minutes. Many people have limited recollection of this portion of their recovery. An IV will give you fluids. pain medication, and provide for your nutritional needs. You may feel sleepy, thirsty, and cold, along with having a dry mouth. These feelings are completely normal. You may have a sore throat from the tube used during surgery to assist your breathing. Specially trained nurses will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, pain, and incision site.

As you awaken and gain consciousness, you may notice that you are connected to medical equipment. This is to monitor your condition. When you are more awake, you will be transferred to the next stage of recovery, which is called Phase II.

Phase II

One of the most reassuring parts of Phase ii is that your care partner can come into the recovery room with you. You will be more awake and clear-headed during this time.

Your surgeon, or a team member, will visit you and/or your care partner and give you the recap of the surgery, let you know next steps, and answer any questions you may have.

Your nursing care team will:

  • Continue checking your blood pressure, pulse, breathing, and temperature
  • Explain the next steps in your early recovery
  • Look at your surgical area
  • Check your circulation (blood flow)
  • Provide soft food and clear liquids as you progress
  • Assist you with going to the bathroom; you cannot walk alone at this point
  • Answer questions and provide for your comfort

23-hour Stay at Surgery Center (Vadnais Heights and Eagan Surgery Centers only)

Some patients experience extended nausea, weakness, or headache after surgery. In these cases, your surgeon may have you spend up to 23 hours in the surgery center. You will have a private room where you will recover comfortably. If you need more care, you will then move to the Care Suites.

Your Care Suites Stay (Vadnais Heights and Eagan Surgery Centers only)

These suites, modeled after hotels, have been specially outfitted to meet both your comfort and medical care needs. It will be stocked per your specifications. Your advanced care provider will go through your options with you prior to your surgery. The advanced care provider will be visiting you to make sure you are progressing well. During your stay, you will receive expert nursing care along with accelerated physical therapy.