Right after surgery

  • After surgery you are taken to the recovery room. You will spend 45 minutes to 2 hours in a recovery room where nurses will watch you closely. You may stay longer depending on your surgery and how fast you wake up from the anesthesia.
  • Your nurse will watch all of your vital signs and help you if you have any side effects.
  • You may have some discomfort when you wake up. Your nurse will work with you to make you as comfortable as possible.
  • You may wake up with a dressing, an IV, oxygen, or other monitors and tubes.
  • Your surgeon will talk with your family when your surgery is over.
  • If you are an inpatient (staying in the hospital overnight), you will be taken to your room. Your family can join you after your time in the recovery room
  • If you are an outpatient (returning home the same day as surgery), you will be taken to the recovery area. A family member can join you in this area.
    • You will receive instructions for taking care of yourself at home.
    • For your safety, you will need a responsible adult to drive you home and to stay with you for 24 hours.
  • For 24 hours:
    • Do not drive or use any machinery.
    • Do not make important decisions.
    • Do not drink alcohol. (It is also important to not drink alcohol as long as you are taking prescription pain medicine.)

Pain management

These four videos review pain expectations, rating your pain, pain treatment options and home pain management.

video_icon Watch all four modules.

Related resources

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Surgery: What You Need to Know, surg-ah-21686
First Published: 01/15/2011
Last Reviewed: 11/25/2019