Surgical Services

Surgical Department at the hospital: 760-366-6132  Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Airway Surgery Center: 760-366-6417  Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The latest in modern surgical procedures are performed at Hi-Desert Medical Center’s surgical department. Rooms are equipped with advanced surgical equipment. Specially trained doctors, nurses, and operating room technicians provide comprehensive care in a friendly, professional environment. For patient convenience, both inpatient and outpatient surgery is available.  Click on the categories below to discover more information about surgery procedures.



A day or two before your procedure, you will receive a telephone call from a registered nurse at Hi-Desert Medical Center informing you where and at what time to report. During this phone call, you will be asked for information about your medical history and to read the names of all your current medications. We know that your doctor has this information in the office, but there may be several weeks between your office visit and your procedure. For your safety, we will verify all of your most current medical history and medications during this telephone interview. We will make sure you know which of your medications to take on the day of surgery. We ask all patients to not eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure (including water). If you are instructed to take any of your medications the morning of your surgery, please take it with just a small sip of water. All patients having outpatient surgery must plan for someone to drive them to and from the surgery; this person must be a responsible adult. We have a comfortable waiting room available for your friends or family to wait. If your driver prefers to leave the facility, they will be asked to provide a phone number where they can be reached when you are ready to go home. Finally, the nurse who calls you before the day of surgery will ask if you have any questions. We want you to be informed and comfortable about your procedure.

The day of surgery
On the day of your procedure, you will arrive at the facility and check into the main reception area. You will be escorted to the pre-op holding area. A registered nurse will meet you there and verify your name, date of birth and ask “what procedure are you having today?” The nurse will help you to change into a hospital gown and will make you comfortable in a bed. After signing consent for your procedure, your blood pressure, pulse and temperature will be taken. Most patients will have an IV started. The nurse will review your chart and verify the information on it with you. You will meet your anesthesia provider at this time. He or she will ask you questions and discuss with you the type of anesthesia they believe is the safest for you. The anesthesia provider will answer any questions or concerns you may have about the anesthetic. You will see your surgeon in the pre-op area and, when necessary, the surgeon will use a soft marker on the appropriate area of your body to show which arm, leg, eye, etc. is the correct surgery site. In many cases, after all your questions are answered, the nurse or anesthesia provider will give you medication through your IV to help you relax. You will be transported to the operating room. Your surgeon, registered nurse and anesthesia provider will be in the operating room with you throughout your procedure.

After surgery
When your surgery is completed, you will be transported to the recovery room. You will be cared for by a registered nurse and an anesthesia provider will be available at all times as you recover. After a time of close supervision and monitoring, you will be helped to change into your clothes and prepared to go home. Your driver will be asked to join you as you receive discharge instructions. Some of the medications you have been given may make you forget some of the instructions you have been given. We will give you the instructions in writing and your driver will be present to hear the instructions so that they may remind you of them later. In the days following your procedure, you will receive a phone call from a registered nurse here at Hi-Desert Medical Center. We will check on your progress and reinforce the discharge instructions. We will answer any questions you have at this time and give you further information as needed. We are dedicated to providing you with a safe, successful and comfortable outpatient surgery experience.

Inpatient surgery
If you are admitted to the hospital on the same day as your pre-planned surgery, you will receive pre-operative instructions from your surgeon in the office or clinic. A registered nurse from the surgery department will contact you at home a day or two before surgery to give you further instructions and will ask you to provide information about your medical history. You will be asked to read your current list of medications (either by reading directly from the medication bottles or from your current list). Any questions you have will be answered at this time. We will explain what to expect during your surgery, remind you which (if any) medications to take before you arrive at the hospital. Typically, you will meet your anesthesia provider on the day of your surgery. They will explain the plan for your anesthesia care and answer any questions you may have about anesthesia at that time. The anesthesia provider and surgery staff will already be very familiar with your medical history but will ask you more questions when you arrive at the hospital. This process may seem repetitive, but it is very important that we have all your questions answered before surgery. If you think of more questions after you speak to your surgeon or the registered nurse on the telephone, you may either call the doctor’s office or simply jot your questions down and bring them with you to the hospital. We want you to be completely comfortable and well-informed before surgery begins. After surgery, you will be cared for in the post-operative care unit (recovery room) for at least an hour. You will be moved from the recovery room and continue to recover from your surgery on a nursing unit in the hospital. Your surgeon, anesthesia provider and nursing staff will monitor your progress around the clock until your discharge from the hospital. When you are discharged, you will be given verbal and written instructions from your nurse and physician. This will include information about home care and when to return to your doctor’s office for follow up.

If you are already a patient in the hospital and your doctor decides that you need surgery, the surgeon will explain this to you in your hospital room. You will be asked to sign consent for surgery and will have the opportunity to ask questions. The anesthesia provider will also interview you before surgery and after a careful examination, will explain what to expect during your anesthesia experience. Our goal is to provide you with a safe surgical experience. Your comfort and safety at this time is of utmost concern. You will be transported to the pre-op area. A registered nurse will attend to your needs immediately before, during and after surgery. Your surgical team of nurses and physicians will be with you at all times during surgery.

You surgical care continues after you are returned to your inpatient room with daily visits by your surgeon and around-the-clock monitoring of your progress by the nursing staff and anesthesia provider until your release from the hospital. When you are discharged, you will be given verbal and written instructions about home care and when to return to your doctor’s office for follow-up.

Anesthesia providers determine the appropriate anesthetic for surgical procedures. During the process, they administer medications, determine when and how intravenous fluids will be utilized and continuously monitor vital signs and level of anesthesia. Anesthesia providers are committed to your safety and comfort before, during and after your surgical procedure. The plan for your anesthesia care and information about what to expect will be discussed with you before surgery. Following surgery, an anesthesia provider and a registered nurse will monitor you in the recovery room and when necessary, in intensive care. Anesthesia providers are also consultants in the management of chronic pain.

Outpatient surgery
Outpatient or Same Day Surgery means that you will arrive for a procedure and will be home the same day. At Hi-Desert Medical Center, outpatient procedures are performed at Airway Outpatient Center in Yucca Valley or at the main hospital in Joshua Tree. Your doctor will tell you which facility to report to for your procedure.

Before your procedure
When you are scheduled for a procedure by your doctor, you will be given instructions about any pre-operative testing needed before the date of surgery and where to go for that testing. You will be informed about any special diet to follow and medications or eye drops to use in preparation for the procedure. These instructions will be given to you in writing by the doctor’s office staff.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below to move to the answers.  


Should I shave the surgery site at home?
No. Please do not shave the hair at your surgery site. If hair needs to be removed we will take care of it immediately before surgery. Shaving a surgical site can cause tiny nicks or scrapes which can develop into wound infections later.

How do I know you will operate on the correct side or site?
We take many steps to make sure that you will have surgery on the correct side/site. You will be asked several times during the process to tell us which side or site is to be operated on. If the site is on a part of your body (i.e. hands, arms, legs, eyes) with two sides, your surgeon will use a soft marker to mark the correct side. Immediately before surgery the entire team will pause and take a “time out”. This is the final check that you are the right patient for the right procedure, and that all the equipment, x-ray and implants needed are in the room. We take this process very seriously and although we know that you tired of answering the same questions, we want you to know that this is done for your safety.

Should I bring my medications to the hospital with me?
Please plan to bring all your medications with you to the hospital in their original bottles unless instructed otherwise in your pre-operative phone call.

What should I bring with me to the hospital?
Please bring any medication in a labeled pharmacy container (unless instructed otherwise).
  • Crutches, walker or any other type of aid you may need at the hospital (including hearing aids).
  • Children may want to bring a favorite toy or blanket (sometimes adults do, too!).
  • If you will be staying overnight in the hospital; bring one small suitcase with your personal care items.
  • Please bring your eye glasses but not contact lenses.
  • Bring an escort (a responsible adult) who will drive you to and from the hospital.
What should I NOT bring with me to the hospital?
  • Do not bring valuables.
  • Do not wear or bring jewelry. You may wear a simple wedding ring which will be taped to your finger if desired. Religious medals may be pinned to your hospital gown.
  • Please remove all piercings before coming to the hospital.
  • Do not wear contact lenses to the hospital. If you have no other choice, bring a container to put them in and the soaking solution you use.
  • If you are menstruating do not use a tampon on the day of surgery. Wear a pad instead. If you do not have a pad, we will furnish one for you at the hospital.
What should I wear to the hospital?
Wear clothes that are comfortable and loose fitting. If the surgery is planned on your arm, wear a shirt that buttons up the front instead of going over your head. If the surgery is planned on a foot or leg, make sure that the pants you choose are very loose fitting to allow for a large dressing or splint.

Is it okay to brush my teeth on the day of surgery?
Yes, just don’t swallow the water or mouthwash.

What about wearing make-up or fingernail polish?
We ask that you not wear make-up to the hospital on the day of surgery. You may wear fingernail polish, but we might have to remove the polish from one of your fingernails if it is very dark in color. One of our very important monitors will be placed onto your finger during surgery. This measures the oxygen level in your blood and very dark fingernail polish sometimes interferes with its accuracy.

Is it normal to be nervous or scared?
Yes. Almost everyone is nervous or scared before surgery. Children show their fear by crying, fidgeting or withdrawing. Adults may be tense, feel angry or be tearful. This is totally normal and we understand it. Your surgery team is dedicated to helping you to be comfortable throughout your entire surgery experience. This includes answering any questions you have, helping to allay your fears, and using sedative medications when needed to help you to stay calm.

It seems like you ask the same questions over and over! Why is that?
Every medical professional involved with your surgery must make sure they have all the information they need to take the very best care of you. There is no better place to find out this information than directly from you. If you feel that you are repeating the same information over and over, just remember this is for your safety.

How long will my surgery take?
Your surgeon will give you an estimate of how long the procedure will take. Remember, this is just an estimate. It may take a longer or shorter time than expected. This does not mean that there was a problem. If there are surgeries scheduled before yours and they take longer than anticipated, it may cause your surgery to be delayed. This is not unusual. Be prepared by bringing a magazine, crossword puzzle or book with you in case you have a waiting period after arriving at the hospital. We will make you as comfortable as possible during this time.

Why is the operating room always so cold?
Operating rooms are designed with airflow similar to the “wind chill factor” which makes the room feel very cold. Some of the medications you will be given, and even the IV fluids may cause you to feel even colder. We will keep you covered with warm blankets and provide warm socks for your feet. During surgery you have a special warm airflow blanket on your body to counteract these effects. We want to make sure you are comfortable at all times while you are with us, so if you are cold, please let your nurse know.

Will I need pain medication after surgery?
While you are in the recovery room your nurse and the anesthesia provider will be assessing your pain level and give you medication to make you comfortable. If you stay overnight in the hospital, this will continue in your hospital room. If you are an outpatient going home the same day as the surgery and your surgeon thinks you may need pain medicine at home, he will write a prescription for you. The recovery room nurse will ask what pharmacy you normally use and the prescription will be called into that pharmacy. You may have your driver stop on the way home to pick it up.

Don’t wait until your pain is out of control to take medication. The pain medication will be more effective if taken when the pain starts. Other methods to use in controlling pain are deep breathing, putting on soothing music, having a massage or reading a really good book. Don’t forget to use these methods in addition to the pain medication.

Will I wake up during my surgery?
There are many different types of anesthesia. With some you may have partial or complete awareness of your surroundings during surgery. Your surgery team will make sure that you are comfortable throughout your procedure.

Can friends and family members stay with me in the pre-operative area or the recovery room?
For children, yes. One or two family members are allowed to be in the pre-operative area and recovery room.

For adults, we will direct your family members to the waiting area while you are in the pre-operative and recovery rooms. There may be several other patients in these areas and we respect the privacy of all our patients, so visiting in these rooms will be very limited. We usually are able to be more flexible in this matter when you are the only patient in the pre-operative or recovery room. We will keep your family members informed of your progress by telephone, even if they cannot visit with you right away.

Can I go into the operating room with my child?
Family members are not allowed into the operating room.

What if I am not at home when you try to call me before or after surgery?
We will make several attempts to contact you by telephone. If you have an answering machine you will receive a message from Hi-Desert Medical Center with your instructions and a phone number to call with any questions you may have. If you do not have an answering machine, you may call your surgeon’s office for information or call us in the surgery department at Hi-Desert Medical Center, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. at 760-366-6132. If nobody answers when you call, leave a message with your name, phone number and the best time to contact you.  For procedures at Airway Surgery Center, call Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 760-366-6417.

You will find contact information for all of our surgeons and other physicians on this website under “Find A Doctor,” or call our Doctor Directory Line at 1-760-366-6182 for more information