What is outpatient surgery?
Outpatient surgery allows the patient to leave the hospital on the same day as their operation.
Even though the patient’s stay within the establishment is shorter, the safety and monitoring requirements are the same as with a standard hospitalisation.
Advantages of outpatient surgery
- More rapid return home
- High patient satisfaction (> 90%)
- Decrease in the risk of nosocomial infections
- Decrease in the risk of phlebitis as less time spent in bed
- Optimal organisation of patient pathway and theatre department
Specificities of outpatient surgery
As the stay in hospital is very short and the patient will arrive only a short time before their operation, they must be given information about the following beforehand:
- management of personal medication
- requirements relating to the different types of anaesthesia
- discharge conditions
- the necessity to be accompanied by another person when returning home
- instructions regarding any treatment follow-up
- methods of postoperative pain management
- protocol if an unexpected event occurs
To anticipate and facilitate the patient’s discharge, prescriptions for drugs to be taken after the operation, especially analgesics, are given to the patient before admission so they can have them filled in advance and thus avoid having to find a pharmacy open once they have been discharged from the clinic.
Getting ready for your stay
- Complete your admission forms at reception when you go to the clinic for your pre-anaesthesia consultation or online via the clinic’s website. Pre-admission consists in completing any administrative forms thus reducing your waiting time and facilitating your admission on the day of the operation.
- Update your national health insurance card (carte vitale).
- Check with your health insurer regarding cover for the reimbursement of practitioners’ fees (surgeon and anaesthetist) and any additional room and board costs. Your health insurer will send you confirmation of coverage of all or part of these additional costs.
- Sign the surgical consent form (for minors, the authorisation must be signed by both parents)
- Sign the informed consent form (for the surgery and the anaesthetic)
- Fill in the form designating a trusted person (or medical power of attorney)
- Don’t forget to take with you:
- ID (national identity card, passport or residence permit)
- Your national health insurance card (carte vitale)
- Your medical insurance card
- The surgical consent form
- Any supporting documents that may be required in the case of a long-term illness or occupational accident
Prepare your medical records
- Bring the results of your x-rays, MRI, scans, etc.
- Bring your pre-op examination results (biology, cardiology, doppler…)
- Bring your drug prescriptions
- Bring any letters from your doctor
Prepare your personal belongings required for your stay
For outpatient surgery, you just need to be wearing comfortable clothes suitable for the operation you are going to undergo.
Nevertheless, you should take the following in case you are unable to return home the evening of the operation:
- Spare underwear
- Towels and toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, razor…)
- Cases for your glasses, dentures, hearing aid…
- Something to read, music with earphones…
Getting ready for your operation
Your stay in hospital may require you to carry out some procedures before coming in, which will be specified by the medical team:
- Stopping or modification of certain long-term treatments
- Pre-operative shower with a specific product
- Removal of hair from the surgical site as specified by the medical team
- Removal of nail polish and make-up that are likely to interfere with the monitoring sensors used during the anaesthetic
You must be fasted before your operation. You must begin fasting at least 6 hours before the operation for food. During this fasting period, patients must not smoke either.
In some cases, the anaesthetist may allow the patient to drink a glass of water up to 2 hours before the scheduled time of surgery.
The day of your admission
Arrival at the clinic
You must arrive at the clinic fasted.
You will be told at what time to arrive during your pre-admission or by phone or text message the day before your admission. The admission time is calculated so that you are ready at the scheduled time of the operation.
Your administrative records will be checked on arrival then you will be shown to your room.
Once in your room
On your arrival, the ward nurse will explain the processes.
She will collect the various medical documents you have brought with you (x-rays, MRI, biological examinations, etc.) and check that you have signed the surgical consent form and designated a trusted person.
Finally, she will take your usual medication, which she is in charge of administering while you are in hospital.
Before going to the operating department
- You will be given a disposable hospital gown to wear in the operating department
- An identification bracelet will be attached to one of your wrists
Transfer to the operating department
A hospital porter will come and take you to the operating department where the medical team will be waiting. You will go to the operating department on foot or on a trolley according to your condition and the nature of your operation.
Arrival in the operating department
On arrival, you will be met by the surgical team.
The anaesthetist will check there have been no new events since the pre-anaesthesia consultation and that your records are complete.
A drip will be set up.
The operating theatre charge nurse will check your identity, the nature of the operation, and the side to be operated on. She will also check that you are fasted and that you don’t have any allergies.
In some cases, the anaesthetist will insert a nerve block before the operation so that the numbness of the surgical site can be extended to decrease post-operative pain.
You will then be taken to the operating theatre and positioned on the operating table.
Anaesthesia will be initiated and the operation will be carried out.
After the operation: post-anaesthesia care unit (PACU)
After the operation, you will be taken to the post-anaesthesia care unit or ‘recovery room’ where your length of stay will vary.
During your time in the recovery room, your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation) will be monitored continuously to ensure good recovery from the anaesthetic and the operation.
The healthcare staff in the recovery room will monitor the intensity of the post-operative pain and analgesics will be administered if necessary. They will ensure recovery of motor function of the limb operated on as well as the absence of severe bleeding around the scar or drains.
When the recovery room lead anaesthetist deems possible, you will be taken back to your room on a trolley.
After the operation: return to your room
When you return to your room, you will be looked after by a nurse and an auxiliary nurse who will ensure you are comfortable.
Your pain will be regularly assessed. The anaesthetist in charge of post-operative pain management will prepare a variety of analgesics.
You will be brought a little snack at a time specified by the anaesthetist to ensure gastrointestinal transit has resumed before returning home.
If a drain was put in place during the operation, it will be removed by the nurse and your dressing will be changed.
The physiotherapist will come and give you instructions regarding post-operative rehabilitation.
Your surgeon will come and see you the evening of your operation to tell you how it went, give you post-operative instructions, and confirm your discharge.
- Your discharge is a medical decision made by your surgeon
- When you leave the hospital, you are generally accompanied by a friend or relative, and if no one is available, by paramedics
- When you leave, you will be given:
- Your operative report
- Your discharge summary (or discharge letter)
- A prescription for medication and dressings
- A prescription for community nursing care
- A prescription for rehabilitation
- A prescription for a check-up x-ray, if necessary
- A prescription for biological examinations, if necessary
- An appointment for the follow-up consultation with your surgeon
In some cases, it is not possible to return home on the day of the operation and the patient will stay in the hospital until the following morning. This is likely in the event of severe postoperative pain.
Patient follow-up after outpatient surgery
If there is a problem, it is possible to contact the clinic throughout the entire night following the operation.
You can contact the surgeon or the anaesthetist if there is a problem.
The day after the operation, the clinic will call to ensure good postoperative progress.
Make an appointment
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