Surgery Instructions

Learn how to prepare and what you can expect when you have surgery at El Camino Health.

All members of the El Camino Health healthcare team are dedicated to making your surgical experience a positive one. We provide this general information to help you prepare for your surgery and recovery. However, please ask your doctor for any special instructions related to your specific surgical procedure.

Before Surgery

Before you’re scheduled to come to the hospital, read our admissions and registration information to learn about what to bring to the hospital, as well as forms you can fill out beforehand to speed up the registration process.

Also, make sure you arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home; you’re not permitted to drive for 24 hours after surgery and sedation. Even if you ride home in a taxi or limousine, a responsible adult must accompany you home. In addition, plan to have that person, or another adult, stay with you the rest of the day following surgery.

Learn more about preparing for surgery.

Day of Surgery

Please arrive two hours before your scheduled surgery, and check in at the outpatient surgery department on the first floor. Parking is available behind the hospital.

If you’re staying overnight in the hospital, please leave your packed bag with your family and ask them to bring it to you after surgery. Make sure to pack eyeglasses, eye drops, a hearing aid or CPAP mask if you use these items. If you’re having orthopedic surgery, be sure to bring crutches if needed or a brace, if ordered by your doctor.

Learn what to expect on the day of surgery, including:

  • How we help prevent postoperative infection.
  • Where friends and family members will wait during your surgery.
  • Where you’ll recover after your procedure.

After Surgery

In most instances, you can expect to spend one to two hours in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) to recover. In the recovery room, you’ll:

  • Have an IV, and your doctor will order a diet for you if you’re staying overnight.
  • Get ice chips or sips of water, if allowed. If you’re nauseated, let the nurse know so you can receive medication to make you more comfortable. Once the nausea has passed, you may have ice chips.
  • Receive pain medication as ordered by your doctor. Your nurse will ask you to rate your pain level on a 0-to-10 scale.

While you’re in the recovery room, take slow deep breaths — this will help prevent pneumonia.

To help leg circulation while resting in bed, point your toes toward your nose then away. For your safety, don’t get out of bed by yourself. Ask your nurse for help.

Your doctor will tell you what activities you can do after surgery. In addition, your care team will review all discharge instructions with you and your family, and you’ll receive a copy to take home. For overnight stays, discharge time is 11 a.m.

Learn more about postsurgical care, including managing pain, recovery at home and more.