Preparing for Surgery

If surgery is your best option for you, the medical team at Atlantic Urogynecology Associates recommends the following helpful information:

Preoperative tests
A chest X-ray, EKG, and blood tests are usually ordered prior to surgery. Depending on your health, more extensive testing may be necessary to determine whether your body will tolerate the strain of surgery. Some women with serious medical conditions are asked to meet with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery as well.

Donating your own blood
Most urogynecologic procedures are performed in a minimally invasive way resulting in a less than one percent risk for needing a blood transfusion; for that reason, we don't recommend that patients donate their own blood before surgery. 

Preventing infection
All doctors and hospital personnel are trained to prevent infection through techniques known as "universal precautions."

Smoking
Smoking is not allowed anywhere inside the hospital. Smoking causes heart and lung problems and may also cause urinary incontinence and prolapse to recur after surgery. If you smoke, we would like to help you quit. Please ask about programs that can help you.

The day of surgery
Please do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before surgery. On the morning of surgery, you may take your regular medications with a sip of water, unless your doctor or anesthesiologist tells you otherwise. Diabetics and patients on steroids will receive special instructions from their doctor about managing their medications around the time of surgery.

The scheduling secretary will tell you what time you should check in through the Admissions Office (usually about two hours before your scheduled time for surgery). A member of the anesthesia staff will visit you. An IV will be started through a vein in your arm. Preoperative medications will be given. Some of our surgery can be performed while you are still awake, but no surgery will begin until you are completely under anesthesia.

You may find it helpful to come to the hospital with responsible family members or friends. The doctor will keep them updated as to how you are doing after your surgery.

Your hospital stay
Your doctor will tell you before your surgery if you need to stay overnight in the hospital.  Most patients will need to spend at least one night in the hospital after surgery. We never send patients home from the hospital until they are ready to go. A patient is ready to go home from the hospital when she is eating regular food without difficulty; using only oral pain medication (i.e. no need for IV pain medicine); has no fever; and is able to walk in the halls on her own. If you need to use a catheter, we will make sure you are comfortable with it before you leave.

Going home
You should be able to return home by car. Make plans to have someone drive you home from the hospital - you should not drive yourself.

Driving
As you know, driving a car requires good judgment and quick responses to changes in traffic conditions. You should never drive if you are using prescription pain medicine. We encourage you to be responsible after your surgery by refraining from driving until you feel that you could react quickly in traffic as needed.

Wound care
Do not douche or use tampons after surgery. To protect your clothing from vaginal discharge or bleeding, you may wear a minipad or standard sanitary napkin. You may also wish to use a squirt bottle filled with saline solution to wash off after going to the bathroom. Spotting and reddish discharge after surgery is normal. Bright red bleeding, increasing pain or increasing redness around your incision are reasons to call your doctor.

Try to get your incisions as dry as possible after taking a shower. A hair dryer on the "cool" setting can be useful for this. Do not take a bath until your doctor tells you that it is okay to do so. If you have an incision on your abdomen, it is normal to feel occasional sudden "tugging" pains for several months after surgery. We encourage you to call us to ask about anything that seems out of the ordinary after your surgery.