Beginning to End: Surgery at the Surgery Center of Fort Collins
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So, you’ve been scheduled to have an ambulatory surgery done at the Surgery Center of Fort Collins. Whether it’s your first surgery or your fourth, having a procedure done can always be a little intimidating. We’ve found that knowing what to expect can help our patients feel a little more at ease.

What happens before my surgery?

Preparing for a surgery actually starts a few days before your scheduled procedure. Our pre-operative screening nurse will call you up to three days beforehand to confirm your health history, verify any medications that you’re taking, answer your questions, and confirm your arrival time on surgery day. The nurse will also give you any pre-surgery instructions. Generally, you will be instructed not to eat or drink after midnight leading up to your surgery – this includes gum or chewing tobacco. Do not drink alcohol or smoke four hours prior to your surgery.

Before surgery day, you should also arrange for a responsible adult to transport you to and from the surgery center as well as stay with you for the first 24 hours after the procedure.

At the Surgery Center of Fort Collins, we welcome preoperative visits! If you’d like a tour of our facility and a chance to meet our staff ahead of time, please give us a call to set up a date. We’ve found that this can be especially beneficial for pediatric patients. During your tour, you can chat with our staff and discuss any questions you may have.

What should I bring to my surgery?

Pediatric patients are encouraged to bring a special toy or blanket to provide a sense of comfort during their procedure. We also ask that parents bring an extra pair of pajamas or undergarments for their child in case the ones they are wearing become wet.

Other patients should bring a list of all medications they are taking, storage cases for glasses or dentures, inhalers if the patient uses one, insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards, an ID, and payment methods due at the time of surgery.

If you are scheduled to stay overnight at the recovery center, bring any personal items or toiletries that you might need. A shower is available for patients that stay overnight. If bringing medications, they must be in their original pharmacy bottles.

How do I prepare on the day of my surgery?

Bathe the morning of your surgery. Spinal surgeries require a special pre-surgical soap to be used to help kill bacteria on the skin that can cause infections post-operation. If you need to use a pre-surgical soap, you will be informed about this during your pre-operative phone call.

The clothing you wear on the day of surgery should be comfortable and loose. You may have bulky dressing after the operation is over, and so you want your clothes to be loose enough to fit comfortably over it. Do not wear any makeup, cologne, lotion, nail polish, or jewelry, including wedding rings.

What happens upon arrival for my surgery?

We usually ask that patients arrive 60 minutes before their scheduled surgery time. Check in at the front desk to begin the registration process. Then, a member of our pre-operative staff will help you to get ready. They will bring you to a pre-op area where you will change into a patient gown.

We ask all our patients to verify their name, birthday, and the procedure they are having done multiple times. This is part of our patient safety program, where we consistently confirm that we have the right patient in the right place. Also please note that a pregnancy test may be performed on all patients of child-bearing age (12-55) upon the surgeon or anesthesiologist’s request.

Visitors may wait for you in the waiting area. The number of visitors may be limited at the pre-op nurse’s request. Your family and friends can enjoy snacks, drinks, and watch TV while they wait. We do have WiFi available for our guests and a few toys for children. If you’d like to have a pastor or other spiritual advisor pray with you before going into the operating room, please let your nurse know.

Before undergoing the procedure, you will still have the opportunity to speak with your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and operating room nurse to answer any final questions you may have.

What can I expect after my surgery?

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room. There, our nurses will monitor you until you awake from the anesthesia. Patients are given supplemental oxygen and nurses frequently check their vital signs to monitor recovery.

It is not uncommon for patients to experience some pain and nausea after surgery. The nurses will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 in order to administer the correct medications to help minimize pain and nausea.

The amount of time spent in the recovery room differs from patient to patient, depending on the type of anesthesia you received and the surgery performed. On average, patients are in the recovery room for one hour. Pediatric patients are reunited with their parents as soon as possible.

After surgery, stay home with someone for at least the first 24 hours, even if you feel okay. Do not drive, smoke, drink alcohol, or make important life decisions within 24 hours after surgery. We will call you within one business day after your surgery to see how you are feeling and answer any questions or concerns.


Our biggest goal is to make sure our patients feel comfortable, safe, and healthy. If you have any questions – at any point during the surgery process – please give us a call. Whether you’re thinking about having a surgery done at Surgery Center of Fort Collins or you are recovering, we’d love to hear from you. Call us at 970-494-4800.

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The staff was super nice and attentive. - Amanda S.
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