How to be prepared for Outpatient Surgery

The volume of outpatient surgery procedures is trending up thanks to improvements in technology. Laparoscopic, robotic and other minimally invasive surgical techniques mean quicker recovery times for patients.

Outpatient surgery, or day surgery, is a procedure performed that does not require an overnight hospital stay. Patients of outpatient surgery typically can go home within 23-hours of their procedure as opposed to inpatient surgery which requires any length of a hospital visit.

St. Joseph’s/Candler offers outpatient surgery centers on both campuses, along with a specialty center located across from St. Joseph’s Hospital. From July 1, 2015, until June 30, 2016, Candler Hospital performed a total of 10,327 outpatient surgeries. On the St. Joseph’s Hospital campus, 2,897 outpatient procedures were performed, with another 1,770 surgeries occurring at SJ/C Surgical Specialty Center. That’s a total of 14,994 system wide outpatient procedures performed in just 12 months.

A large range of outpatient surgeries are performed including gallbladder removal, appendectomies, foot and ankle corrections, hernia repairs, as well as other general surgeries.

“We are seeing more and more outpatient surgeries every year,” said Art Shumate, MSN, RN, CNOR, System Director of Surgical Services. “Being that it’s outpatient, you are in and out and on your feet more quickly than if you have inpatient surgery. People can return home and return to work faster.”

Here are a few things you should be prepared for leading up to and during your outpatient surgery procedure:

1. You will receive a call prior to your surgery date to determine if you need to come in for a pre-screening.

2. If it is determined that you need to come in for pre-screening, you will meet with a pre-screening nurse to go over your medical history and any medications you are on. This information will help determine if any tests need to be done before your surgery such as chest X-ray or an EKG.

3. The day before your surgery expect another phone call to confirm the time you need to arrive to register. If you came in for pre-screening, a majority of the registration process will be complete.

4. It is very important to not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day your surgery is scheduled, Shumate says. Also, be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications you are currently taking at the time of your surgery. 

5. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Also, be sure to leave your jewelry and valuables at home so they don’t get misplaced. The hospital is not responsible for lost items. You may also want to bring a jacket, sweater or light blanket if you tend to get cold.

6. Bring some form of entertainment. You may want to bring a book or something to keep you occupied. We strive to keep your wait to a minimum, but your surgeon may get caught up in a previous appointment or procedure.

7. Bring someone to drive you home. This is true of every procedure. You will not be released until someone is present to drive you.

8. Be prepared for any length of stay. Again, we strive to keep your wait as short as possible. The length of your stay after surgery depends on several factors including the seriousness of your procedure and any lingering illnesses or potential complications that may cause your recovery time to be extended. Patients who need additional observation time can stay in our specialized 23-hour units.  

9. MOST IMPORTANTLY, be prepared to answer a lot of questions – over and over and over and over again.

“You will be asked the same questions a number of times over and over again, and you need to understand it’s not because we don’t know what we are doing, it’s because it’s intentional,” Shumate says. “People are going to ask your name and birthday repeatedly. They are going to ask you what kind of surgery you are having a number of different times. The patient might think, ‘You don’t know what kind of surgery I’m having?’ and they might be scared by that, but we ask that because we want to make sure the patient understands the surgery they are having, and we want to make sure what they think they are having is what we think they are having. You will be asked questions over and over again, and it’s for your safety that we do it.”

Outpatient surgeries are typically performed Monday through Friday at both St. Joseph’s and Candler Hospital campuses as well as the St. Joseph’s/Candler Surgical Specialty Center. To learn more about our Outpatient Surgery services, click here.

If you would like information on our financial assistance policies or would like to understand more about any of your financial obligations before surgery, please review our financial policies.

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000