How To Prepare For Surgery

Knowing what to expect as a patient helps in removing some of the anxiety related to the upcoming procedure(s). Below is information that the Outpatient Surgical Center of Arizona hopes will be of assistance to you.

Outpatient surgery allows a person to return home on the same day that a surgical procedure is performed. For the procedure, the individual is positioned on his or her side, stomach, or back. Throughout the surgery, the anesthesia team closely monitors the individual to ensure his or her safety and comfort. Medication is given to the person not only to provide anesthesia but also to control the heart rate and blood pressure.

Day Of The Surgery

You will arrive at the surgery center (1-2 hours) prior to your scheduled surgery time based on the preference of your doctor. This will allow our business staff time to complete your registration, and answer any questions you may have. Our team of healthcare professionals will consult with you and prepare you for your surgery. You will consult with your anesthesiologist and surgeon to have them answer any questions you may have.

A member of the nursing staff will be with you throughout your entire surgery. When your surgery is completed you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). The amount of time you spend in PACU will depend on your type of anesthesia and surgery. Your PACU stay is usually 30 minutes to 1 hour. During your stay in PACU the nursing staff will continue to monitor your recovery.

Before you leave the surgery center, you will be given discharge and care instructions for your home recovery. For your safety, you must arrange for a responsible adult (18 years of age or older) to drive you home following surgery and stay with you for the first twenty four (24) hours. We highly recommend you have an individual wait for you in the reception area during your procedure. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present in the center at all times.


With the completion of surgery, the clinical and anesthesia team bring the individual to a recovery room where he or she continues to awaken fully from the sedation. Recovery times vary depending on the procedure(s) performed, as well as each individual patient’s health and tolerance.

The recovery nurse monitors and treats the individual for discomfort and if other problems arise, such as nausea, vomiting, chills, and low or high blood pressure. An anesthesiologist is also available to assist in the recovery room.

Before going home, the person should have written instructions on the following:

  • Whom to contact if a problem or complication occurs
  • What medication to take for pain
  • Activity level, and when a return to work is possible
  • When to start eating
  • Where to go if evaluation or admission to a hospital is necessary

Discharge Criteria

The individual must meet the following criteria before being released:

  • Have stable vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, temperature, and pain level)
  • Tolerate food and drink (This is important because oral medications may need to be taken to relieve pain or to prevent infection.)
  • A responsible adult must be present at the time of discharge to assist the individual in going home. In addition, this adult should be with the individual at all times for the first 24 hours to provide help when necessary and to call for help should a problem arise.