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Preparing for Your Surgical Procedure

The Cottage Health team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, specialized registered nurses and support staff is dedicated to providing excellent surgical care. Whether you will be having inpatient or outpatient surgery, you can help by carefully following the instructions below.

Before Surgery

Once your surgery has been scheduled, you will be notified of the time, date and location.

You will have a pre-surgical appointment a day or two before your surgery. Please bring a list of your current medications and dosages as well as your insurance cards and driver’s license. During this appointment, a nurse will explain the surgery to you, give you instructions to follow on the day of surgery, and answer your questions. If you need any lab work or testing, it will also be done during this appointment.

The Day of Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before your surgery unless your physician, anesthesiologist or nurse says otherwise.
  • If you may be pregnant, tell your physician immediately.
  • If you have had any health problems since your last office visit, tell your physician. Examples include a cold, cough, wound infection or fever.
  • Your regular medication routine may or may not be modified. Follow the instructions of your physician, anesthesiologist or nurse.
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing and shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
  • Wear your dentures, glasses, contacts and/or hearing aids if you wish. However, you must remove them before the procedure. Bring a case to keep them in. (If you having eye surgery, do not wear your contact lenses.)
  • A responsible adult must be present to drive you home (and possibly stay with you overnight if needed)
  • Bring your photo ID and insurance cards.
  • If you use a CPAP machine, please bring it.
  • If you are the legal guardian or conservator of an adult patient, please bring a copy of the documentation.
  • Children having surgery may bring a favorite stuffed animal or security blanket.
  • When you arrive at the hospital or surgery center:
  • Admission paperwork will be completed if needed.
  • A nurse will answer your questions and prepare you for your surgery. 
  • Your anesthesiologist will meet you and discuss anesthesia options.
  • Your family may stay with you in the preoperative area until you are taken to surgery.

After Surgery

You will be in the post-operative care unit while your anesthesia wears off. How long this takes will depend on the procedure you had and the type of anesthesia you received. Usually it takes one to two hours.

Before you go home, you will be given post-op care instructions that are specific to your surgery. In addition, please follow these general instructions:

  • Follow your physician’s instructions for activities, diet, rest and medications.
  • Do not drink alcohol in the 24 hours following your procedure.
  • Avoid making important decisions or signing important documents for a minimum of 24 hours following your procedure.
  • All patients receiving anesthesia other than a local anesthetic must have a ride home and, if staying overnight at the hospital, a responsible adult to stay overnight with them. This requirement is to ensure your safety. Your procedure may be cancelled if you do not meet it.

A nurse will call you the day after you return home to see how you are doing and answer questions.

For Pediatric Outpatient Surgery Patients

The outpatient surgery staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital gives pre-operative tours for children every Wednesday at 4 p.m. to help them feel more comfortable. We recommend you come the Wednesday before surgery. Please call 805-569-7287 to let us know you’re coming to the tour. On the day of surgery, we encourage parents to stay with their child in both the pre-operative area and the post-op unit. We also ask at least one parent to stay in the building from the time of admission until discharge.

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