Frequently Asked Questions     

Find Answers to Your Questions About Surgery

Should I Shave the Surgery Site at Home?

No. Please don’t shave the hair at your surgery site. If hair needs to be removed, we’ll take care of it immediately before surgery. Shaving a surgical site can cause tiny nicks or scrapes that can develop into wound infections later.

How Do I Know You’ll Operate on the Correct Side or Site?

We take many steps to make sure that you’ll have surgery on the correct side/site. You’ll 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 (e.g., 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-rays and implants needed are in the room. We take this process very seriously and although we know that you get 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).
  • Bring 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’ll be staying overnight in the hospital, bring one small suitcase with your personal care items.
  • Please bring your eyeglasses but not contact lenses.
  • Arrange for a friend or family member to 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’re menstruating, do not use a tampon on the day of surgery. Wear a pad instead. If you do not have a pad, we’ll furnish one for you at the hospital.

What Should I Wear to the Hospital?

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. 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 OK 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’s 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 remain 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’re 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’ll make you as comfortable as possible during this time.

Why Is the Operating Room Always So Cold?

Operating rooms are designed with airflow that 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’re cold, please let your nurse know.

Will I Need Pain Medication After Surgery?

While you’re in the recovery room your nurse and the anesthesia provider will be assessing your pain level and giving you medication to make you comfortable. If you stay overnight in the hospital, this will continue in your hospital room. If you’re an outpatient going home the same day as the surgery and your surgeon thinks you may need pain medicine at home, he or she 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. 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’ll 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’re the only patient in the pre-operative or recovery room. We’ll 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’ll 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 our surgery department, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. at (760) 366-6132.

For procedures at Airway Surgery Center, call Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at (760) 366-6417.