What to Expect Before and After Surgery

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Advancements in medical technology have transformed surgery from an occasional miracle of the past to a common one in the present for patients suffering from bodily ailments.

Surgery today is a well-practised, safe, and frequently conducted medical process, as it increases your chances of recovering from various diseases, injuries, and accidents.

However, there’s always a cloud of doubt and anxiety in the minds of those having to undergo surgery due to its many complications and painful post-surgical periods.

Vascular Surgery In Houston aims to alleviate these concerns with safely conducted procedures, offering patients a higher chance of a successful recovery from various diseases, injuries, and accidents.

That’s why it’s important to be mentally and physically prepared for surgery before getting it done, to ensure you can cooperate with the surgeons and hospital staff and have a smooth recovery.  

So get to know the steps before, during, and after surgery in detail below, which will prepare you for any surgical proceeding.  

Preparing for Surgery

Preparing yourself for surgery, whether minor or major gender confirmation surgery, is daunting, but careful considerations and a breakdown of the procedure can help you adapt to it quickly. Ideally, you’ll have the following things done before and during your surgery, so preparing yourself mentally for them is important.

Pre-surgical tests

Regardless of the nature of your surgical procedure, pre-surgical tests are done to determine your fit for the operation. These include tests to monitor your heart health, blood configuration, urine concentration, etc., which help to check your general bodily health, including:

  • Complete blood work 
  • Urine/Stool sample
  • X-rays 
  • Electrocardiogram


When your physician explains your surgery proceedings in a pre-surgical appointment, they will also brief you on the type of anesthetic you’ll receive. The anesthesia prevents you from experiencing pain by numbing the surgical site or making you unconscious. 

So, it’s important to know which anesthetic you’ll be getting and become acquainted with the anesthesia cart configuration by discussing it with your doctor. The two types of anesthesia generally administered include:

  • General anesthesia is administered for longer (ideally 1+ hours) or more complicated procedures. You’ll be asked to remain on an empty stomach for 12 hours before getting general anesthesia and limit your water intake. In addition, this anesthetic is administered by either a gas mask for a few short seconds or via a syringe.   
  • Local anesthesia is used to numb the part of your body being operated on for a short period, usually by using a syringe or topical medication. Local anesthetics are often reapplied during the operation based on your pain tolerance and wear off quickly. 

Surgery day prep

After having your tests done and getting briefed by your doctor about the surgical proceedings, you’re now ready to prepare for the much-awaited day. Keep the following checklist in mind for your surgery, and you’ll have a smooth procedure with nothing to worry about except ensuring a good post-operative recovery:

  • Arrange a ride to and from the hospital for your surgery day. 
  • In case of overnight stays for post-surgical care, arrange for a friend or family member to stay with you. 
  • Make sure to fast for 12 hours before the surgery.
  • Pack a small bag with a change of clothes, toiletries, house keys, ID, and wallet. 
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, or any medication before surgery. 
  • Remove all piercings, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, and contacts before going to the operation theater. 
  • Keep yourself in optimal health to avoid delays in the surgery. 

In addition, you’ll have to go through some standard hospital protocols before the procedure, such as:

  • Filling out consent forms.
  • Changing into hospital clothes and wearing an ID bracelet. 
  • Providing payment or health insurance information to attendants. 
  • Providing medical history, information on previous surgeries, health conditions, and allergies.

During the surgery

After completing all the necessary pre-surgery steps, your attendants will wheel you into the preoperative room with some basic surgical equipment. Here, you’ll be prepped for the procedure, laid on a stretcher, attached to some machinery for monitoring heart rate and breathing, have your blood pressure and other vital signs checked, and have an IV line inserted for medication, fluids, and anesthesia. 

As the anesthesia kicks in, you’ll doze off, and the surgical attendants will take your stretcher into the operation theater. This room will have a team of surgeons, nurses, attendants, and the anesthesiologist, who will perform, assist, and monitor you throughout the procedure.

Patients administered a local anesthetic will be awake during the surgery and routinely asked questions on their pain level and some general questions to keep them alert and reduce their worry.

Depending on the procedure’s complexity, your surgery can be prolonged or end early. After it’s complete, the anesthesiologist will administer a drug to wake you up, and attendants will take you to a Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) until you wake up.

After the surgery

Once the surgery is over and you begin waking up, you may experience disorientation, residual pain, thirst, blurred vision, or a weakness in your body. All of this is natural, and your vital signs and pain will be monitored round the clock by nurses as you’re in the PACU to ensure you wake up without issue. During this time, family or friends might be allowed to visit individually, and you can converse with them until you are fully awake.

Once the anesthesia wears off, you’ll be taken into a ward for post-operative care or to a general hospital room, depending on your recovery state.

Here, you’ll be allowed sips of water, given some additional medication for pain or vitamins to provide energy, and you might have a catheter put in for urination if you can’t walk to the bathroom. Your caretakers can move into this room with you and stay nearby until you recover fully. 

You can also expect a visit from your GP or attending surgeon in a few hours, who will brief you on how the procedure went, give instructions for post-surgical care, prescribe medication, and advise on food/water intake.  

Finally, once you’re declared fit to return home, you’ll be allowed to pack up, fill out a discharge form, and leave the hospital with a post-surgery check-up date.


Surgery is a complicated and sensitive procedure and requires varying levels of care depending on the type of surgery you’ll receive. So, it’s important to know your surgical proceedings in detail to avoid any anxiety, prepare your body for the operation, and have a support system with you to aid in recovery. 

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