What to Expect for Your Outpatient Surgery

New COVID-19 Guidelines to Better Protect You

Your health and safety is our mission. Due to the demands and uncertainty of COVID-19, it is possible that some surgeries may need to be canceled if our community experiences a high-volume of new confirmed cases. At this time, we are moving forward with all scheduled outpatient surgeries.

To protect your health and safety, we have developed and implemented new processes for our patients who are scheduled for surgery. This will include an initial clinical assessment and laboratory testing to make sure you don’t have COVID-19. These new protocols also help to protect our staff and others around you.

Whether we are experiencing a pandemic or not, we begin an open line of communication with you days before your surgery is scheduled - so you know what to bring and what to expect before, during and after surgery.

Our Step-By-Step Process

First, we will conduct a clinical assessment in addition to lab testing to determine whether you have COVID-19.

A clinical assessment includes a screening for symptoms of the novel coronavirus as well as a discussion about any history of coming in contact with a person known to have COVID-19. If you are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms and have no known exposures, you will be receive a throat or pharyngeal swab for COVID-19 laboratory testing roughly 24 to 48 hours prior to your surgery. This testing and extra screening is being done because many people do not show symptoms of the virus and we take our responsibility for our community’s health seriously.

Our testing can be processed right here at our in-house lab within University Hospital so that in many cases, you can get your results sooner. Here’s what to expect if you are to undergo COVID-19 testing before your surgery:

  • You will see a staff member or receive a call to discuss if you’re experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you’re not experiencing symptoms of the virus, you should call 210-358-8910 to schedule your pre-op or pre-surgery visit.
  • You will be tested for COVID-19 at Medical Center Pavilion.
  • Your surgery will be postponed if:
    • You test positive for COVID-19.
    • You recently came in contact with someone who has the novel coronavirus.
    • You miss your pre-op appointment.

What You Need to Do Before Surgery

Make every effort to prevent getting sick prior to surgery:

  • Continue to stay close to home.
  • Follow social distancing recommendations and good handwashing hygiene. It’s important that your friend or family member who drops you off and picks you up from your procedure also observes these protective measures.
  • As much as possible, avoid contact with other people before your surgery date.
  • Be watchful for any symptoms of COVID-19 before your surgery day.

What Happens on the Day of Your Surgery?

Please arrive one hour before your scheduled surgery time, unless you’ve been told otherwise. This helps to ensure your surgery starts on time.

When you arrive, you will be greeted by one of our staff members in the outpatient surgery waiting room. You can expect:

  • All of our staff members to be wearing masks for the protection of everyone in the clinic.
  • To be given a mask to wear.
  • One of our nurses to check you in after you complete your paperwork.
  • To be asked if you have any new symptoms and have your temperature taken.
  • Questions about your health history.
  • One of our anesthesiologists to visit with you to explain what will happen during your surgery.

If you’re nervous or anxious about your procedure, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask questions. We’re here for you. We want you to understand what to expect so you can feel reassured that you are in expert hands.

Surgery for Children

Children rarely have experience with outpatient surgery or anesthesia. That’s why we are sensitive to the unique emotional needs of children facing a surgical procedure.

If your child is having surgery, you will:

  • Stay with your child in every area of the Outpatient Surgery Center, except the room where the surgery takes place.
  • Receive a report from the surgeon immediately following the procedure.
  • See your child in the recovery room shortly after the surgery is over.

Support of Family & Friends

We know it’s important for you to have the support of family and friends when you have surgery. Invite your family to stay with you while you’re in the Outpatient Surgery Center until you’re ready for surgery.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Bring a picture ID with you
  • Bring a list of your medications
  • Leave valuables like jewelry at home
  • Wear something comfortable, and bring a sweater if needed
  • Remember your glasses or contacts
  • Please bring only one or two visitors with you
  • Please do not bring children who are not having surgery
  • Bring a favorite toy or something for your child to do until surgery
  • Wireless Internet is available for your convenience

We’ll keep in touch with your family during your surgery to let them know how you’re doing.

After Surgery

You will recover from surgery in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) after your surgery. The nurses will monitor you closely. It’s important to let your nurse know if you’re in pain. He or she will give you medicine to control the pain, or you also may receive patient-controlled analgesia (PCA).

Other considerations you should be aware of as you recover and prepare to go home:

  • Parents may see small children as soon as they are awake
  • One or two visitors may stay with you in the recovery room
  • Surgeon will talk to your family while you’re in the recovery room