PAAMG Frequently Asked Questions: After Surgery

Please note that the information provided on this website is not appropriate to all patients having surgery and should not be relied upon in making medical decisions. The following questions and answers are provided solely for informational purposes, do not constitute medical advice or guidance, and are subject to the disclaimers contained in this website’s Terms of Use. This information should be used only in consultation with an appropriate physician or anesthesiologist. Please contact your surgeon’s office or the anesthesia office if you have questions concerning you and your conditions.

No. Due to the potential for lingering effects of anesthesia, it is not safe to drive, use any heavy equipment, or make any business decisions for twenty-four hours after surgery. This is a hospital policy, which we strongly support for your safety.
This is the room where patients recover immediately after surgery and anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will take you there with the operating room nursing team, will admit you to this area, and then turn your care over to a PACU nurse. Our recovery room nurses are specially trained to care for patients during this period of post surgical and post anesthesia care. In the PACU, your vital signs are monitored frequently as you recover from the surgery and anesthesia. You may wake up with an oxygen mask helping you breathe until your respiratory system can function on its own again. If you had regional anesthesia, you may have some residual numbness until that anesthetic wears off.
The time a patient spends in PACU varies with their surgery, the duration of anesthesia for that surgery, and their personal health. For most patients this is a one to two hour process. The process can be longer if you are discharged to home that day. The longer time allows us to be sure that you are ready to go home with your caregiver. Your family will be notified of your progress and status in the PACU.
Visitors are not allowed in the primary PACU area. This allows the staff to focus on your care and helps us protect the privacy of our patients served in this area. When a patient is taken to the secondary recovery area, family and visitors are allowed at the bedside.
Patients lose body heat during surgery. We try to minimize this with warming blankets and warmed fluids but it is inevitable in a cold operating room and long surgeries. A number of patients will wake up with shaking from this drop in temperature. Warming blankets and IV therapies can be used to reduce this affect on a patient.
Nausea after surgery is caused by many factors. This makes it impossible to totally avoid some post – surgery nausea. However, we have modern methods of care and medications that reduce the risk of nausea for our patients.
Post – surgical pain varies with each patient and surgical procedure. If you experience pain after surgery, the PACU staff will give you medications until the discomfort is controlled. Your surgeon or anesthesiologist may recommend a regional anesthetic for post operative pain. If this is recommended, please strongly consider taking this course of care.