Surgical Services At NCH

Surgery: What To Expect

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Pain management

At NCH, we are committed to helping prevent or control any post-surgical pain. Your physician or nurse will work with you to develop a pain management plan. Please ask us for pain relief when any pain first begins.

  • Your surgeon may decide to give you a single shot of pain medication before surgery next to the nerve closest to your surgical area. This is called a single-shot peripheral nerve block (PNB). This medication will numb the nerve and block the pain.
  • For other procedures, your physician may request that a continuous peripheral nerve block (CPNB) be placed before surgery to help manage pain that you may have after surgery. A catheter is placed under your skin next to the nerve by your surgical area. After surgery, the catheter is connected to a pump filled with a numbing medication. You will be able to adjust the pump to deliver more medication for extra pain relief when needed.

Click here to learn more about pain management.

After surgery

You will be taken into the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). You'll receive constant care from a post-anesthesia care nurse. While you're coming out of surgery, your surgeon may call or visit your family or friends to let them know how you're doing.

As the anesthesia wears off, you'll wake up in the brightly lit PACU. Noises may seem louder than normal. You may have blurry vision, a dry mouth, chills or nausea. A nurse will check your dressing and blood pressure often. You may have an IV or other tubes used for drainage. Your surgery site may hurt or burn, so ask your nurse for pain medication if you need it.

Depending upon the type of surgery you have, you will be given specific instructions for your recovery. Be sure to follow them closely so you can heal faster and feel better.

For health and safety reasons, you will not be allowed to drive yourself home following your surgery. Therefore, please make arrangements for someone to drive you home. It is also strongly advised that you arrange to have someone stay with you for 24 hours following your surgery.

A courtesy van is available 7 am–5 pm if you are traveling to or from the hospital campus for medical reasons—call 847-618-6480. The fee is $5 cash and the boundaries are Route 22 to the north, Cook/DuPage line to the south, Route 59 to the west and I-294 to the east.

Pain management after surgery

You may receive pain medication in the hospital or be sent home with a prescription.  Everyone has a different level of pain tolerance. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse for pain medication.  Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any side effects from medication.

Follow-Up Care

A responsible adult will need to stay with you for at least 24 hours following your surgery. You and your family member will be given written instructions prior to going home. Most patients are sent home with prescriptions that need to be filled. You may want to discuss the option of pre-filling your prescriptions with your doctor.

  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and rest at home. It is a good idea to have the following foods on hand: clear liquids, soup, crackers, toast, gelatin and juice.
  • We will call you after your surgery to see how you are doing.
  • You should not drive a car for 24 hours after receiving anesthesia or sedation.
  • Do not consume alcohol for 24 hours after surgery or drive while taking pain medications that make you drowsy.

During recovery

If you have inpatient surgery, NCH therapists, dietitians, social workers, clergy and others will be close by to help out.  Before you go home, your healthcare team will review written instructions with you.

If you are having outpatient surgery, you will need a responsible adult to stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery to help you move about, prepare meals and get medications.  It's a good idea to have the following foods on hand: clear liquids, soup, crackers, toast, gelatin and juice.

You should not drive a car or drink alcoholic beverages for the first 24 hours after surgery, or drive while taking pain medication that makes you drowsy.  Follow your healthcare team's advice about walking, deep breathing and eating after surgery.

Walking after surgery

Walking helps your blood flow and your body's functions get back to normal.  Be sure to have someone help you the first time you get out of bed and begin walking.

Eating after surgery

  • Food may be hard to digest after some types of surgery.
  • If you're in the hospital, you may have an IV for nutrition.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's orders about eating and drinking.

Breathing and coughing after surgery

  • In the hospital you may be asked to use a spirometer or deep breathing exerciser.
  • Deep breathing clears the lungs and helps prevent pneumonia.
  • You may be asked to cough; this may be difficult at first.
  • If you have an incision, holding a pillow over it when you cough can help.

Home care

Depending upon the type of surgery you have, you may require home health care for a few days or weeks. Northwest Community Hospital has been a leader in providing outstanding home health care services since 1969. We provide one-on-one home care with 24-hour patient access to registered nurses and regular physician updates. Most patients are referred through their physicians; however you may request services directly if you have difficulty leaving your home and require intermittent and skilled health care. For more information call 847-618-7800 or click here to learn more about Home Care.

Physical therapy after surgery

Your doctor may recommend physical rehabilitation therapy. NCH offers a complete Physical Rehabilitation Services department staffed by highly trained and licensed physical therapists and certified assistants.  They will consult with your doctor to design an individual program for you to help build up your strength and treat any possible post-surgical problems with standing, walking, range of motion, balance, coordination or endurance.  For more information, call 847-618-3550 or visit our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation section. A physician's order is required to schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 847-618-3700.