Instructions for Your Day of Surgery

Q: Do I need to tell anyone that I use herbal products? 

It is very important that you tell your health care provider whether you are using any herbal supplements. Many of the popular herbal products can cause harmful side effects or interact with other medications. Anesthesiologists are finding that: 

  • St. John's Wort may intensify or prolong the effects of some narcotic drugs and anesthetic agents. 
  •  Ginko Biloba and Feverfew may reduce platelets, which are needed for blood to clot. This increases the risk for bleeding. 
  • Ginseng has been associated with episodes of high blood pressure and rapid heart rate.

Our anesthesiologists advise patients to stop taking herbal medications at least two to three weeks before surgery. This should be enough time for the herbals to be cleared from the body. If there is not enough time to stop your herbal medications before surgery, please let the anesthesiologist know so that they may be aware of the risks.

Q: How late can I eat/drink something? 

It is very important that you do not eat or drink anything past midnight on the night before your surgery/procedure, as the presence of solid or liquid in the stomach considerably increases the risk of anesthesia. Your surgery may be postponed if you do not observe this requirement. You might be told to take some of your medications. If so, you may take them with a small amount of water (1-2 ounces).

Q: How will I know what to do when I go home? (for example, when to return to work). 
A: You should consult your physician prior to entering the hospital for your surgery/procedure in regards to your post procedure activities. This will allow you to plan in advance for time off from work, etc. Upon discharge you will be given specific instructions for the next 24-48 hours.
Q: I received a patient satisfaction survey in the mail. Why should I complete this?  
A: A certain percentage of our patients receive a patient satisfaction survey in the mail. By completing and returning this survey, you help us evaluate our care. As our goal at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center is to make sure your stay with us is of the highest quality, we appreciate any suggestions you may have to improve patient and family care.
Q: I think I may be allergic to Latex. What can you tell me to help me determine whether or not this is true?  
  • Do you have occupational exposure to latex, especially powdered gloves? Y/N
  • Do you have spina bifida, genitourinary abnormalities, or cerebral palsy?Y/N
  • Do you suffer from asthma, eczema of food allergies (particularly bananas, kiwi, chestnuts or avocado)? Y/N
  • Do you have a history of multiple surgeries? Y/N Have you experienced a rash or dermatitis on contact with latex or rubber products? Y/N 
  • Have you experienced rash/wheezing/swelling/itching associated with dental exams, balloons, condoms, or rectal/vaginal exams? Y/N

If you answered yes to any part of question A and either B or C, you should notify your physician that Latex Precautions should be taken.

Q: The doctor said it's only a local procedure. Why can't I drive home? 
A: When your physician indicates that you are to have a local procedure, it means that minimal sedation will be used. Any medication administered during your procedure may impede your thought process, therefore we do not recommend your driving home as this endangers your safety.
Q: Where is Saint Francis Hospital? 

Saint Francis Hospital is located on 114 Woodland Street in Hartford. Click here for detailed directions.  

If you are scheduled for surgery, you should proceed to the 3rd level of the Patient Care Tower. Follow signs to the Ambulatory Surgery Department. Click here for detailed directions.  

If you are scheduled for an endoscopic procedure, you should proceed to the 2nd level of the Patient Care Tower. Follow signs to the Day Hospital. Click here for detailed directions.  

If you are scheduled for surgery on our Mt. Sinai campus, you should proceed to Surgicare. It is located to your left after entering through the main entrance. Click here for detailed directions. 

Q: Why can't I wear contacts? 
A: Wearing contacts during surgery may cause corneal abrasions.
Q: Why can't I wear jewelry? 
A: There are several reasons for this, such as post procedure swelling which might prevent rings from being able to be removed. Metals in the jewelry may cause skin reactions during your surgery/procedure.
Q: Why can't I wear make-up or nail polish? 
A: During your surgery/procedure, the anesthesiologist/physician monitors your color. Wearing make-up or nail polish interferes with this.
Q:  Why can't my family go into the recovery room when I get there? 
A: The recovery room is an open area, as this allows nurses to easily monitor all patients. For purposes of patient confidentiality no one other than employees are allowed in the recovery room.
Q: Why do I have to answer these questions again? You have all of this information on my record. 
A: This helps to expedite your admissions process on the day of your scheduled surgery/procedure, as well as confirm information which may or may not already be on your chart.
Q: Why do I need someone with me when I go home? 
A: The effect of the medication you are given stays in your system for approximately 24 hours, therefore we ask that you have someone with you for at least 24 hours.
Q: Why is my surgery time 2:15, my doctor told me I was the 1st case? 
A: Although we try to accommodate physician/patient requests to be 1st case on the schedule, there are many issues which we must take into consideration when booking our daily schedule, such as patient's medical status, technology/equipment needed for case, etc.