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What to expect immediately after surgery

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What to expect immediately after surgery

OrthoSpine Staff NursesAfter surgery you may remember being in the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) which is also called the Recovery Room.  Or you may next remember being on the Nursing Unit, 8 South Tower (8ST).  You will not come to us on 8 ST until you have met certain criteria in your recovery.  When you are stable for transfer, the transporters will bring you by bed to your room.  Surgery is estimated at about 2 hours and recovery about 2 hours; however, it may take longer before you arrive on the Unit due to your personal recovery time or tests the surgeon may order to be done in the PACU.  There is generally no cause for alarm if it takes longer than 4 hours from the time of surgery to arrival on the Unit. While you are in PACU, the surgeon will meet with your family in the Surgical Waiting Area in the 15th Street lobby.  

OrthoSpine Staff Unit SecretaryWhen you arrive on the nursing unit, you will be met by your Registered Nurse and Care Partner Team.  The Unit Secretary is another member of the Team who you will have contact with over the intercom.

Your Care Partner will be given a detailed report about you from your RN.  The RN relies on the Care Partner to bring information back about you, for instance, your vital signs.  Please let your Care Partner know what your needs are.  The Care Partner is there to assist you with toileting and hygiene needs as well. 

Your RN will be assessing your overall condition and will be in touch with your doctors about you.  Your RN will educate you about what you need to do postoperatively, answer your questions and follow the doctor's orders about your postoperative care including medications.  The RN will work with you to keep your pain at a tolerable or better level.  Please let the RN know if you have any questions or concerns about your post operative care.

Your surgeon works with a team of Resident doctors, one of which is on call 24 hours.  The RN can reach your doctor at anytime if there is any problem in your care.  The Residents make rounds in the morning and in the evening.  Your surgeon who is called the Attending physician may round with the Residents or at another time during the day.  If you have questions for your doctors, ask during rounds or let the RN know and he or she will contact the doctor for you.

You will have a call light at your bedside.  If you press the orange button, our unit secretary will answer and ask what you need.  Please respond specifically so we can prioritize your call.  We use pagers to communicate with each other and we try to keep our response time to a minimum.  Please call us if you need to get out of bed.  No matter how good you feel about getting up, please let us help you.

You may experience nausea or vomiting after surgery.  While this is unpleasant, it is not unusual.  We will provide you with receptacles to use for vomiting.  We can give you medication through your IV to relieve nausea.  It may make you sleepy.  We may only give you ice chips or a clear liquid diet for the first hours after surgery to prevent nausea and vomiting.  When you begin to pass gas, we will advance your diet in most cases.  

You may experience a sore throat after surgery from the breathing tube that was placed down your throat during surgery.  Please let us know if you need a lozenge or some hot or cool liquid.

OrthoSpine StaffWe have a Room Service Food Plan.   Once you are able to eat and the doctor has written a diet order for you, you can call the kitchen at 93535 and order from the menu we will provide you.  Your meal will be delivered at the time you specify.  If you don't order food, our Host or Hostess will stop by to see why.  If you need assistance with dietary choices, our Dietitian will see you.

We have a Chaplain and a Social Worker on our multidisciplinary team.  Please let your nurses know if you have any needs, concerns, questions about anything during your stay with us.

If you have any questions about this portion of the website, please contact us at orthospineinfo@mednet.ucla.edu.