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What to Expect if You are Going for Surgery

hospital stay surgery

Going into surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, especially if it’s your first time. Knowing what to expect and feeling prepared can reduce any pre-op anxiety. Take a look at this brief surgery overview to answer any lingering questions and calm your nerves.

1) Pre-Surgery

Before going in for surgery, you’ll be asked to remove any makeup and nail polish. This might sound unnecessary or strange at first, but it’s actually super important -- because you’ll be unconscious, your surgeon and his team will be monitoring your condition during the procedure, and makeup and polish can obstruct your vital signs from view. The related area should also be clean, but you can skip the shaving. If necessary, any shaving can be taken care of by a nurse before you head into the Operating Room.

2) Effect of Anaesthesia

Before going in for the surgery you will be put under general anaesthesia, either intravenously or with the use of a mask. Waking up, you may feel a little drowsy and confused. That’s totally normal! Some other pesky, but equally as common side effects of anaesthesia include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, shivering and drowsiness. You might also not be surprised to know that anaesthesia can cause fatigue or lack of energy that can last several days. 

3) Recovery Room

Following the surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where a team of superhero nurses will monitor your post-anesthesia care. Your vitals and fluids will be measured regularly, and you may breathe with the help of an oxygen mask. The nurses will also manage any pain or side effects to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. Generally, people spend one or two hours in the recovery room before they’re given the all-clear to head back to their own room.

4) Fluid Retention

Fluid retention is a common occurrence after surgery, and may lead to a swelling of the hands, feets and face. Don’t be alarmed! This is often caused by hormonal imbalance, prolonged best rest or post-op drugs. This condition will be monitored by your nurses, but should go away on its own.

5) Chest pain

Going into surgery puts stress on the body, so experiencing chest pain in recovery is normal.  However, chest pain should be reported to your caregivers and monitored closely, just to make sure there are no complications from the surgery, or any  post-op infection such as pneumonia.

6) Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is a condition that refers to an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. During the recovery phase of surgery, some people may experience bradycardia (when the heart beats too slow) or tachycardia (when the heart beats too fast). An arrhythmia might happen due to prolonged bed rest, anaesthesia or pain after surgery. If your heartbeat is feeling a little off after surgery, let your doctor know so he or she can keep an eye on it.

7) Constipation

Surgery can definitely take it’s toll on the body! The digestive system may be affected by the anesthesia, post-op drugs or immobility.

8) Family Support

After the surgery, the “little things” might not be so little anymore. Simple tasks, such as taking care of your personal hygiene or preparing meals, may be difficult. It’s super important to make sure you have the proper support after you leave the hospital. Having family and friends around is not only helpful; it’s also crucial for raising your spirits and boosting morale on your way to recovery!

9) Wardrobe Change

After undergoing a surgery, you’ll need comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that don’t restrict your wound and allow for movement. You're going to want to wear something that  you can easily put over your head and access the affected area. Giftgowns was designed for people to use after surgery, and has snaps on the back and sleeves to make it easy to access this area. 

10) Exercise

It may be tempting to return to the gym as soon as you’re up and moving again, but proceed with caution! Refrain from any strenuous exercise until you have fully recovered from surgery and your wound has properly healed. Consult your doctor for the best way to ease back into a fitness routine without injuring yourself.


Managing stress before a surgery can be hard, but staying informed is a great way to give yourself peace of mind. Don’t hesitate to ask a healthcare professional if you have any questions before your surgery. Remember, they are a resource for you and can be reached at any time for support, advice and info.



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