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What Happens in the Operating Room

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If you've never been in an operating room before, all the equipment and hustle and bustle can be disconcerting. You'll probably see a lot of people you've never seen before. There may be a lot of noise as the surgical team talks to one another and puts equipment in place. Many surgeons will come in while you're still awake to say hello and give you last-minute reassurance.

You may feel cold. Don't be shy about asking for a blanket!

Much of the equipment you see is designed to help your surgical team watch you very carefully during surgery:

  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm.
  • An electrocardiograph machine will monitor your heart rate.
  • A finger clip will measure your blood oxygen levels and anesthesia.
  • A breathing tube may be placed in your throat.
  • For longer surgeries (over an hour) compression boots or stockings may be placed on your lower legs to prevent blood clotting. These are strange-feeling but not uncomfortable or painful.
  • Just before surgery, your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution, and your body will be covered with a sterile drape, leaving only the area to be operated on uncovered.

Personal Quote

"I had a local anesthetic with some sedation to relax me. By the time I got into the operating room, I was snoozing."

— Marcy

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