When Do We Give Out Pain Medicine?
Narcotic pain medications are given out AFTER your procedure is performed and this prescription will be given to you before you leave the hospital. It is the policy of Hartsville Surgical Center not to call in narcotics after hours or on weekends, so if there is an issue with your medication, please contact our office prior to closing or on the next business day. We also make every effort to get patients off narcotics as quickly as possible and do not tolerate abuse of narcotics in any capacity.
During every major procedure we will take precautions against our patients possibly developing a DVT, or Deep Venous Thrombosis of the lower extremities. We use compression stockings during the surgery as well as subcutaneous or IV injections of various medications such as Heparin in an effort to lower your risk of a DVT. This rarely happens in our surgeries but we are proactive in preventing any problems such as this.
Which Type of Anesthesia is Best for Me?
The type of Anesthesia that will be used may be discussed with you on your initial evaluation with us in the office, but the risks and benefits and ultimate decision will be made by the Anesthesiologist who you will talk to the morning of your surgery. We use local anesthesia, spinal blocks, epidurals, and General Anesthesia, and sometimes combinations of these with IV sedation. Please feel free to ask the Anesthesiologist any questions or concerns you may have prior to going to the operating room.
How Do I Care for My Wound?
You should expect to receive instructions on how to care for your wound. These will be given to you directly by the Hospital Nurse prior to your release. Generally we want to leave the original dressing on for at least 24-48 hours, but again this should be explained to you prior to your leaving the hospital. If there is any doubt, keep a dry dressing over the wound and contact us at our office during regular business hours. If there are special wound care issues or drains involved, you will receive specific instructions on how to care for these, and sometimes a Home Health Nurse may be assigned to help you at home as well.
What If I Have A Problem After Hours?
If there is any problem after hours, often you can use your best judgment. Sometimes pharmacists at your local drugstore will be a great resource and answer your questions with issues such as constipation, etc. If you feel you may have an infection and may need antibiotics, then you can try to contact us or go to the Emergency Department at any time. If it can wait until the next business day, then call early that morning (after 8:30 am), and we will address and hopefully remedy the problem quickly for you.
Do I Need a Referral?
Many patients do not need a referral to get an appointment to see us, unless this is a requirement by your insurance company. If there is any doubt, please ask and we will work with you to get that referral. We always try to get patients seen in a short period of time (within 5-10 days), but sometimes surgeon’s schedules may dictate a shorter or longer time period to wait to be seen. While we strive to make your wait time as short as possible during your appointment, please remember that surgeons deal with many different kinds of emergencies on a daily basis, and this can sometimes cause delays and even cancellations of appointments. We try to minimize this from occurring but if it should occur we will get you seen as quickly as possible after that unfortunate delay.
When Can I Drive?
The time before you can drive will vary depending on the surgical procedure that you may have had. You should be given instructions specifically about driving, but of course ask before you leave the hospital if you are unsure. If in doubt, we will address the issue at your follow-up appointment.
What Do I Need To Bring With Me To My Appointment?
Please bring any records from prior hospitalizations with you, especially older operative reports from any hospital that you may have. ALSO BRING ALL OF YOUR MEDICATIONS, including the bottles themselves, so we can accurately assess your overall medical condition and also allow us to make a better decision on perhaps the type of surgery needed and the timing of that surgery.
How Do I Know If I Have An Infection?
If you suspect an infection in a wound, call our office to talk with one of our nurses during business hours. They may be busy at that moment and have to call you back, but they should be able to call you back the same day. We may simply call you in some antibiotics, or we may ask to see you back in the office to check the wound or issue that may be in question to determine if antibiotics or something additional may need to be done. After hours you may try to reach one of our doctors on call, but often they will not know your specific condition or situation and may ask that you go to the Emergency Room to be evaluated.
What If I Miss My Appointment?
If you miss your appointment, simply call us and we will reschedule you. Do not expect that you will be seen the very next day, and there could even be a delay in getting you back in the office. Therefore try not to miss your initial appointment if at all possible. Also remember that surgeons are not in the office every day of the week, as certain days are committed to performing their operations at the hospital.
What Happens If I See Drainage or Bleeding From a Wound?
If you see drainage or bleeding from a wound, first of all do not panic. Start by placing a dry compressive dressing over the area. If it is during the daytime office hours, call the office and we will most likely tell you to come see us at which time we will try to work you in to the schedule. In cases of significant active bleeding, you may need to go directly to the ER. Sometimes some clear drainage may be expected and is not an emergency. In these situations we may tell you to just apply a dry gauze dressing several times a day and come to see us in within a few days. In any case, simply call and talk to a nurse and we will direct you accordingly.