St Andrews boasts five operating theatres, a Cardiac Catheterisation Lab, two Day Procedure Rooms and a fully equipped Central Sterilising Department. Patients undergoing surgical procedures can be admitted to theatre either through the Day Hospital or, for inpatients, from their ward.
For patients having a surgical procedure, after being admitted to hospital you will have some basic observations taken and recorded. These observations include, temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure and weight. You may be visited by your Anaesthestist in your room or in the 'pre-op' area (which is the Operating Theatre waiting area). Your Anaesthetist may also ask you to provide details of:
· Any previous operations?
· Tablets or medication are you taking?
· Any adverse reaction to any medication you have taken?
· Any past or present medical problems?
· Any family history of medical problems?
· Any previous anaesthetic problems?
· Do you smoke?
You may have a physical examination. The condition of your heart and lungs will be checked and further tests may be requested, eg. chest x-ray, electrocardiogram (heart tracing) or blood tests. Your Anaesthetist will discuss with you what type of anaesthetic he/she thinks is most suitable to your condition, eg. General Anaesthetic, Epidural, Spinal, Intravenous Sedation.
Your Anaesthetist may order a "pre-med" which is medication given either as tablets or an intra-muscular injection. This may make you slightly drowsy and relaxed. For your safety please remain in bed after any 'pre-med' is given.
Your Operation Procedure
You will be transferred to 'Pre-op' by your ward nurse and introduced to the Operating Theatre staff. The first of the operating theatre checklist questions will be asked here, usually by the pre-op nurse. When the Operating Theatre team is ready, you will be asked for a second time the theatre check list questions by the anaesthetic nurse who will then escort you to the Operating Theatre.
Upon arrival in the theatre you will be greeted by a theatre nurse and asked the check list question for the third time. This is to ensure that all involved are aware of your particular medical circumstances.
You will be transferred from your bed to the operating table. The Anaesthetist will insert an intravenous drip into your arm to give you some fluids and anaesthetic drugs. During your operation the Anaesthetist will be responsible for constantly monitoring your breathing, pulse, blood pressure and other vital functions.
Where will you wake up?
After the operation is over you may wake up in the operating theatre or in the recovery room. The Recovery Room is a special area staffed by nurses trained to look after patients who have had an anaesthetic and are waking up. You will spend ½ to 1 hour in the recovery room before being transferred back to your ward. Because of the drugs you have been given you may have little memory of this time and your first recollection after the operation may be waking up in your room in the ward. If you have any post-operative pain or nausea you will be given medication to make you more comfortable.
Back in the Ward:
Once back in your room, please check with the nurse before attempting to get out of bed. If you need to go to the toilet, have pain, feel nauseated or have any concerns about your condition use the nurse call bell to alert the nurse. After surgery you will have frequent visits by a nurse who will check your dressing, intra-venous line, take your temperature, pulse respirations and blood pressure.
You will be asked to breathe deeply and exercise your legs and feet to stimulate circulation. Please do not feel that these interruptions are preventing you from being allowed to rest, they are done to check on your recovery and to help your body recover more quickly from the anaesthetic and surgery.
Rights and Responsibilites
The performance of surgical procedures requires consent from the patient. Your doctor or specialist should provide you with a consent form prior to surgery being performed for you to read and sign acknowledging your consent.