Patient Services

Surgery-What to Expect

Baptist Health Surgical Services

The physicians and caregivers of Baptist Health Surgical Services welcome you. This information about what you can expect is just one of the ways we hope to make your surgery experience as pleasant as possible. If you have any questions or concerns please contact:

Main OR Surgery (501) 202-1350
Day Surgery (501) 202-2177
Eye Surgery (501) 202-7155

Pre-Operative Testing And Examination

Routine tests are sometimes needed to evaluate your state of health. A few days prior to your surgery you may be asked to schedule an appointment with the surgical pre-admission department (SPA) to complete these tests and a medical history. These tests may include the following:
Blood tests
Chest X-ray

Pre-Operative Instructions

  • Do not have anything to eat or drink (no food, water, gum, smokeless tobacco products, mints, coffee, juice) from midnight on the night before your surgery. It is recommended that some medications be taken the morning of your surgery when you first awaken. Discuss with your physician which medications to take and which to hold.
  • If you smoke, discuss with your physician when you must stop for your surgery. Tobacco products are not allowed on Baptist Health property. It is advised that you stop smoking or using tobacco products at least by midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Use no alcohol 24 hours before and after your surgery.
  • You may brush your teeth and gargle on the morning of surgery but do not swallow any water.
  • Please do not wear make-up creams, lotions, or moisturizers.
  • Wear only comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that does not go over your head. Remove hairpins, wigs and all body jewelry.
  • A picture ID (example Driver’s License) and insurance card are needed on arrival.
  • Leave all valuables at home. Baptist Health will not be responsible for lost items.
  • If you are planning to discharge the same day as your surgery, you must have a responsible adult stay at the hospital during your surgery and drive you home. You are not to drive for at least 24 hours after your surgery.
  • We strongly recommend that you have a responsible adult stay at home with you for the first 24 hours after surgery, however, if you have a general anesthetic, you must have a responsible adult at home with you for the first 24 hours after your surgery.
  • Pediatric patients must have one guardian here at all times. Please bring diapers, bottle or sippy cup, and one favorite toy or blanket. Do not bring milk products or formula.
  • Notify your physician if you have any change in your condition especially a fever, cold, flu, or exposure to a contagious disease.

Pre-Operative Bathing Instructions

Before surgery, you can play an important role in your health. Because skin is not sterile, we need to be sure that your skin is as clean as possible. Your skin will be prepared with antiseptic before your surgery, but the antiseptic can work better if your skin is clean.
You will need to shower with a special soap called chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). A common brand name for this soap is Hibiclens, but any brand is acceptable.
Bathing instructions:
Read the “Drug Facts” information and directions on the bottle:
  • Hibiclens is not to be used on the head or face, keep out of eyes, ears and mouth.
  • Hibiclens is not to be used in the genital area.
  • Hibiclens should not be used if you are allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate or any other ingredients in this preparation.
You will need to take three CHG showers. The first shower is two days before surgery, then the night before surgery, and the morning of surgery.
With each shower:
  • Wash your hair as usual with your normal shampoo. Rinse your hair and body thoroughly afterward to remove the residue.
  • Wash your face with regular soap or water only.
  • Wash your genital area with regular soap or water only.
  • Thoroughly rinse your body with warm water from the neck down.
  • Turn off the water to prevent rinsing the CHG soap off too soon.
  • Apply the minimum amount of Hibiclens necessary to cover the skin. Use Hibiclens as you would any other liquid soap. Wash gently with the Hibiclens using a washcloth for five minutes.
  • The soap is only effective if it remains on the skin for at least five minutes before being rinsed off.
  • Turn the water back on and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Do not use regular soap after applying and rinsing the Hibiclens.
  • Pat yourself dry with a clean soft towel after each shower.
  • Do not apply lotion, powder or perfumes.
  • Put on clean, freshly washed clothes.

Checking In

Main OR
If your surgery is scheduled for the Main OR, please check in at the admission office located in the front lobby of the hospital. Parking is available in front of the hospital.
Day Surgery
If your surgery is scheduled for Day Surgery, please check in at the admission office located in the Day Surgery building across from the Emergency Room. Parking is available next to the Day Surgery building or in Medical Towers II Parking Deck.
Eye Center
If your surgery is scheduled for the Eye Center, please check in on the first floor of the Eye Center. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the building.
Once admissions has completed your paperwork, you and your family will be seated in the surgery waiting area. Please do not change locations without notifying the Guest Representative. The Guest Representative will then notify Pre-Op of your arrival.
Please bring a list of medications to Pre-Op with you.
Please include the name of the drug, dosage, how often taken, why you take this drug, and the last time you took your medication. (Example: Prevacid 30 mg by mouth, daily, for acid reflux, last taken 10/4/05)

Pre-Operative Area

In the pre-operative area you will be escorted to a room and asked to remove all of your clothing, including underclothing, and put on a patient gown. Your nurse will obtain your vital signs, height, weight, and discuss your medical history with you. An intravenous line (IV) will be started in this area in order to administer medications.
Please inform your nurse if you have had any prior breast or lymphatic surgery on either arm.
Family members/friends in pre-op area are limited to two.
If you are to be admitted to the hospital, please inform your nurse if you would like to request a private room. Most insurance does not cover the cost difference of a private room, you will be responsible for this cost difference. Please understand, due to availability, we cannot guarantee a private room on transfer from the post-operative area.


After the items listed above have been completed, an anesthesiologist will talk with you. They will check over your test results, your medical history, and discuss the type of anesthesia and pain control you will have. After this interview, your family may join you in the pre-operative area.


Monitors will be placed on your upper body These show your vital signs, such as blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate.
You may notice some activity on arrival to the Operating Room. This is normal as all preparations are being made for you.
During surgery, your Anesthesiologist/Nurse Anesthetist will administer medications and fluids to keep you safe and comfortable. They will also monitor and control your vital signs and breathing.

Pain Management

Experiencing discomfort following your surgery is normal. Inform your nurse if you are uncomfortable or in pain. Your physician or anesthesiologist have several types of pain management modes which will be prescribed for you.
Pain Shots - This medication is given either IV or injected in time periods prescribed by your surgeon or anesthesiologist and will be administered according to your needs. Inform your nurse if you are uncomfortable as the medication is not on a routine schedule. This type of pain management is used primarily for the first 24 to 36 hours after surgery.
After this time you will receive pain medication by mouth.
PCA Pump - This pain control method allows you the patient, to administer your own pain medication as you need it through an intravenous line (IV) which will stay in after your surgery. A small cord with a button on the end is attached to the PCA pump. To receive pain medication, press firmly on the button and release. The PCA pump has a safe dose limit programmed into it so that you need not worry about overdosing. Since the pump is at your bedside no waiting time is involved in receiving your pain medication.
Epidural Pump - Patients treated with epidural analgesia receive continuous infusions of pain medication through a thin catheter inserted into the back. This technique is similar to that so commonly used to control pain during labor and delivery. Epidural analgesia can provide profound pain control with minimal side effects. This catheter is usually placed prior to your surgery in the preop area by the anesthesiologist. The dosage of medication is prescribed by your anesthesiologist. You can manage your pain using this pump. A small cord with a button on it is attached to the epidural pump. To receive a pain medication, press fi rmly on the button and release. The epidural pump has a safe dose limit programmed into it so that you need not worry about overdosing.
Other forms of pain management may be prescribed by your physician. You will be instructed by your nurse of your role in managing your pain.

Post-Operative Area

When your surgery is completed and your dressings are in place, you will be transferred to the post-operative area commonly known as the recovery room.
You will be constantly monitored and cared for by a postoperative nurse. 
As the anesthesia wears off you will become aware of your surroundings. Noises may seem louder than usual. 
You may already be receiving pain medication in some form. Inform your nurse if you are experiencing pain or nausea. You will be asked to rate your pain management scale. This scale will be used to assess the type and amount of pain medication administered to you.
Your physician will speak to a family member as soon as your surgery is complete. Recovery time varies depending on the type of anesthesia administered. A family member may join you in the recovery unit. Remember you will not be allowed to drive yourself home.
Your physician and nurse will explain what to expect following your surgery and your instructions for your post operative care. If you have questions, contact your physician’s office.