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Patient Safety Tips for Surgery
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""To make your surgery safer, consider asking your doctor(s), nurse(s) and clinical staff some of the following questions before surgery:

  • What are my options for the best place to have this type of surgery: in the office, sameday surgery center or hospital?

    Consider cost, your health plan coverage, and above all, safety factors.

  • What exactly do you expect will be done during surgery?

    Be sure that you, your doctor and your surgeon agree on exactly what will be done during surgery, and you are aware of what to expect.

  • Are the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses aware of any allergies or previous bad reactions to anesthesia that you may have had?

    Don’t assume they know what you are allergic to, especially if you have not told them. If you have already told them, remind them.

  • Can I continue to take medications and vitamins that I am routinely taking?

    Inform all your doctors and nursing staff about all the prescription medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking. Certain combinations of medicines can lead to problems. Patients taking heart medication need to be careful that the combinations will not lead to a heart attack.

  • Should I wash with an antibiotic soap the day before surgery?

    If you are supposed to wash with an antibiotic soap, ask the doctor to show you how. Doing so may help prevent infections.

  • Will I need an antibiotic before surgery? If so, for how long?

    Antibiotics should be taken within 1 hour before surgery and stopped within 24 hours in most cases, lowering your risk of infection after surgery.

  • If hair has to be removed from my body before surgery, will you be using clippers rather than a razor?

    Razors can cause infections if they leave small cuts on the skin.

  • What will you do to prevent the risk of blood clots?

    Because you do not move while under anesthesia, blood clots can form, possibly leading to a heart attack and a stroke. The more complicated the surgery, the higher the risk.

Department of Health

P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
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Last Modified: Friday December 03 2010