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After Surgery

Whether you are having same day or inpatient surgery at an Atlantic Health System location, after the procedure is completed, you will be transferred to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) – sometimes called “the recovery room.” During this time, you can expect the following:

  • Specially-trained nurses will closely monitor your heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing with the same equipment used in the operating room.
  • Oxygen will be administered through a mask or nasal cannula (small prongs resting at the edge of your nostrils).
  • To assist circulation, elastic stockings and/or sequential compression devices may be on your legs.
  • Our staff will check the dressing over your incision frequently.
  • Depending on your surgery, you may have special drainage tubes that collect either urine or blood; these will be removed at a later time.
  • If you needed a special breathing tube while under anesthesia, you may wake with a mild sore throat, but this will subside quickly.
  • You will remain in the PACU until you are awake and vital signs are normal; this can take from one to a few hours.

Visitation in the PACU

To ensure privacy and well-being, visitation in the PACU is not encouraged after inpatient surgery, but period updates will be provided to families.

For same-day-surgeries, visitation is restricted during the first stage of recovery – approximately 30 minutes to an hour – after which we will unite you with your family.

Same Day Surgeries

Before leaving the PACU, your physician or health care provider will give you specifici nstructions on how to best care for yourself, which you should follow closely to maximize your recovery.

Remember that you must have a responsible adult take you home. You will not be permitted to drive yourself, use public transportation or take a car service alone.

Once you return home, anesthesia may still be in your system and may temporarily impair your ability to function normally. For 24 hours after your operation, you should not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery, drink alcoholic beverages, make any important decisions, or be alone.

Inpatient Surgeries

For those patients who require a hospital stay after surgery, you will be
transferred to a patient room after your time in the PACU. During your hospital
stay, your health care team will discuss your treatment and recovery plan with
you.