Surgery FAQs


Where do I check in?
You will check in either at the west Admitting/Registration Desk (ER entrance) at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, or at the second floor reception desk at the Same Day Surgery Center. Visit Maps, Directions & Parking if you are not familiar with our location.
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How long is my outpatient surgery going to take?
Times vary depending on the time that it takes to do the procedure and how well you recover from the initial effects of your surgery. The average time that you will be at the hospital is about 4-5 hours.
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Should I take any of my medications before surgery?
You will receive a call before your surgery from our pre-anesthesia screening nurses, who will review your medications with you. They will instruct you about which medications need to be taken. These should be taken only with a small amount of water. Ask your doctor about all your medications and which ones you should take. If you are taking any aspirin products, blood thinners (such as Coumadin, Lovenox, Plavix, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, or Vitamin E) tell your physician because these may need to be stopped before your surgery.
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Do I need to complete paperwork when I arrive at the hospital?
Yes, when you arrive at the hospital the admissions staff will register you. They will need a copy of your insurance card(s) and will ask you to sign some forms.
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When should I arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery?
The pre-anesthesia screening nurse will instruct you about when to arrive and where.
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Why do I have to come to the hospital so early before my surgery time?
The admission process takes about 1-2 hours and includes:

  • Registering at the west entrance admitting desk.
  • Changing into a hospital gown.
  • Making sure your medication list is up to date and correct.
  • Reviewing and signing the consents for procedures.
  • Talking to a nurse about your condition.  He/she will make notes in your record.
  •  Providing you education about your surgery.
  • Speaking to an anesthesiologist regarding your anesthesia needs (medication to take away the feeling of pain or to put you to sleep).
  • Visiting with the surgeon before your procedure to answer any questions and to mark the site of your surgery.

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Can I bathe, brush my teeth, and wear make-up and body piercings?
You may bathe or shower (use antibacterial soap) and brush your teeth before coming to the hospital. It is advised that you limit make-up and remove all body piercing and jewelry.
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Why do I have to remove all my body piercing and jewelry?

  • Some of the equipment used during surgery reacts to metal and may burn or shock you.
  • When we move you to the surgical table jewelry can get caught or snagged on the sheets which could cause injury or slipping.
  • During surgery you are often given a large amount of fluids through your IV. This can cause swelling. If a ring is left on, this can cause tightness and damage to your fingers and toes.

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May my loved one stay with me?
Yes. Our rooms are small but one family member can stay with you until we begin preparing you for surgery. When we prepare you for surgery your family member may be asked to wait in our waiting room.
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Can I have anything to eat or drink before my surgery?
No. Eat a light dinner the evening before your surgery and do not drink alcoholic beverages. DO NOT eat or drink anything including water, chewing gum, or mints after midnight the night before your surgery, or as instructed by your physician or the pre-anesthesia screening nurse.
Surgery and anesthesia can sometime upset your stomach and increase your chance of vomiting. Having anything in your stomach increases your risk of vomiting during your procedure and the chance of that vomit getting into your airway, making it difficult or impossible for you to breathe.
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How will my pain be managed during my stay and when I go home?

  • Your admission nurse will teach you about the pain scale that all the nurses and doctors will use to assess your pain. 
  • During your stay most of your pain medication will be given through your IV (a tube that feeds you through your vein). This is a quick way to relieve your pain and make you as comfortable as possible.
  • As you prepare to leave the hospital and the outpatient surgery unit, your doctor may have prescribed an oral pain medication (to be swallowed). Depending on your pain, the nurse may give you this medication before your leave. Oral pain medications usually last longer and will help control your pain.

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Can I drive after my surgery?
No. You will be given medications during your surgery that can have a lasting effect on your judgment or decision making abilities and your ability to react quickly. Driving could place you and others in danger of harm. Make arrangements to get a ride home after your surgery with a responsible adult. Buses and taxis are NOT acceptable. You are not allowed to drive the day of surgery or until you have clearance from your doctor.
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When will I see my loved one after surgery?

  • Depending on your procedure and the type of anesthesia medication used, you may need to go to the recovery room. Most recoveries last about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Visitors will be restricted at this time, but your nurse will keep them informed.
  • If you wish, your surgeon will talk with your family immediately after your procedure.
  • After you have recovered, you will be moved back to either your outpatient room or you will be transported to your inpatient room on the hospital’s second floor.
  • Family should check in with the surgery volunteer. They can assist your family with refreshments and information. The nurse will communicate through the volunteer when you are moved to your room.

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Do I need pre-testing done prior to my scheduled surgery date?
If your physician has ordered specific pre-surgery tests, you are encouraged to get them done BEFORE your surgery. These tests usually include blood test, urine test, EKG, and/or chest X-ray if your doctor requires them. This will help minimize any delays or postponements. Check with your doctor to see if this applies to you.
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How should I prepare for my visit?

  • Pack your sleepwear, footwear, and other personal items you may need if you are staying overnight.
  • Plan to leave any valuables such as jewelry, purses, cell phones, and wallets home.
  • Know your co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurances. Check with your health insurance company to understand the portion you will need to pay and be prepared to pay that prior to or the day of surgery.

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What do I need to bring the day of surgery?

  • Bring a complete list of all medications you are taking, including over the counter medications and herbal supplements:  My Medicine List .  You may take any required medications the day of surgery as advised by your physician or the pre-anesthesia screening nurse. 
  • Bring a case for glasses, contacts, and/or dentures.
  • Please bring your insurance card.
  • If you are staying overnight, please bring any items that will make your stay comfortable, including any personal hygiene items you may need.
  • Any laboratory tests and/or X-rays you obtained from another facility.
  • If a minor is having surgery and you are not the parents of the patient, you must bring documentation of legal guardianship.
  • Any Advance Directive (Living Will, Power of Attorney etc.) you may have.

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Who do I contact if I need to cancel my surgery?
If you need to cancel surgery please notify your physician and the hospital as soon as possible.
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What if I become ill?
If you develop a cold, persistent cough, sore throat, fever, or other illnesses within two days of surgery, please notify your physician.
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My child is scheduled for surgery and has a cold.  Should we cancel?
A child who has nasal congestion, sneezing, or a dry cough may undergo surgery safely in nearly all cases. However, the final decision lies with the anesthesiologist. As a general rule, a child who is too ill to go to school is likely to benefit from delaying surgery.
If your child has a fever or productive cough, or has been exposed to chickenpox, measles, or mumps please call your physician’s office so they can assist you with rescheduling.
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