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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Special Topics > Surgery Prep Room

Surgery Prep Room

Alternate Names : Surgery Preparation Room, Pre-Operative Area, Pre-Op Area, OR Holding Area

The surgery prep room is where people wait before they enter the operating room to have surgery.

What is the information for this topic?

The surgery prep room is where a person spends the final minutes before going to the operating room. A person generally lies on a portable bed with wheels as they wait. Most people will have an intravenous or IV started in the surgery prep room if they don't already have one. An IV is almost always necessary before going into the operating room. Inserting an IV involves putting a needle through the skin and into a vein, usually on the hand or forearm. A bag of fluid may be hung so that it drips into the IV.

Blood tests may be required, depending on the surgery and any medical problems. More than one person may ask about the person's medical history. Questions may include medical conditions, medications, and allergies. People will be asked when their last meal was. A recent meal may cause the surgery to be cancelled due to risks. It is important to answer all questions completely and honestly. The heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature may be recorded, sometimes more than once.

If consent forms and other legal documents were not previously completed, they will need to be signed before surgery. The anesthesiologist usually comes to talk to people about the anesthesia. Anesthesia is the medicine used to control pain and put people to sleep. A mild sedative may be given to relax the person.

Many different people may come to the person's bedside, most of who are strangers. In some cases, family members will be allowed to wait in the pre-operative room with the person. At other times, this may not be allowed. If a person is not sure who someone is, they should feel free to ask. Any last-minute questions should be asked at this time.

If the person has not met the surgeon yet, as may be the case in emergencies, the surgeon will introduce himself or herself. Alternatively, the surgeon may come by and say hello if the person already knows him or her.

At this point, the person is usually wheeled to the operating room on a portable bed or a wheelchair. Many people are drowsy or even asleep from a sedative given earlier. The actual trip to the operating room and the operation are often not remembered at all. The next thing most people remember is waking up in a surgery recovery room after the surgery.

Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Date Reviewed: 07/24/01

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