Day of Surgery

Find out what to expect when you arrive at the hospital for your surgery — before your surgery, in the operating and recovery rooms, and instructions for those who are waiting.


When you arrive at the hospital for your surgery, the first place you’ll go depends on which El Camino Health campus your procedure is scheduled.

Mountain View Hospital (El Camino Hospital)

If you attended the Pre-Admission Program, you may go directly to the preoperative/short stay unit at your assigned time. If you didn’t attend the Pre-Admission Program, you should register at patient registration when you arrive at the hospital. After registering, you’ll go to the admission unit.

Los Gatos Hospital

Go directly to the admission unit (outpatient surgery unit) two hours before your scheduled surgery.

After you’re registered, a nurse will take your temperature, blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, and obtain any additional information necessary for your surgery. Your anesthesiologist will start your IV and talk to you. Your nurse will ask many of the same questions you’ve been asked since your admission — that’s because your safety is your nurse’s primary focus throughout your surgery. 

When you enter the operating room, your doctor, anesthesiologist, operating room staff and, in some cases, an assistant to your doctor will be present. Your heart, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and respiratory status will be monitored throughout the procedure, and you’ll be kept warm and comfortable. 

Prior to surgery, you will be screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If you are identified to be at risk, this information is included in your medical chart and an ID band is placed on your wrist to alert the surgical team for additional monitoring. If you have low oxygen saturation or shallow/obstructed breathing, you will use a CPAP machine while sleeping and resting. A respiratory therapy consultation and extensive education for you and your family is provided while you are in the hospital. After discharge, the respiratory therapy team will follow up with you and your primary care physician. Your physician may recommend you see a sleep medicine specialist for further monitoring and treatment. Regardless of where you have surgery in the future, you will be armed with knowledge about your condition and can communicate it to any care provider to help you have a better post-surgical experience and improved outcomes.

Preventing Postoperative Infection

While the chance of postoperative infection is low, we take these steps to reduce the likelihood of infection:

  • Your healthcare team consistently practice hand hygiene to prevent the spread of germs.
  • For most surgeries, you’ll have an antibiotic within an hour before your surgical incision.
  • If hair removal is necessary, we perform it as close to the time of incision as possible, and we use clippers.
  • If you stay overnight, prophylactic antibiotics should be discontinued within 24 hours after surgery.

Surgical Waiting Room

During your procedure, the surgical hostess will keep your family and friends informed. After your surgery, your doctor will meet them in the surgical waiting room:

  • Mountain View campus. The surgical waiting room is on the second floor next to the Tower A/B public elevators.
  • Los Gatos campus. The surgical waiting room is on the first floor across from the outpatient surgery area.

Post-Anesthesia Care

After your surgery, you’ll awaken in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). A nurse will measure your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and pain level at frequent intervals. Noises may seem loud, and you may feel cold. Warm blankets are available from your nurse. Generally, you’ll be brought to your room within two hours of surgery. 

Family members can wait in the surgical waiting room. The surgeon will talk to them when the procedure is completed, and the surgical hostess will notify them when you’ve been moved to your room. Visitors aren’t allowed in the PACU.

Learn more about anesthesia and what to expect before and after your procedure.