We know that surgery can be a difficult experience for you and your family. Our goal is to help you move, breathe, eat, sleep and be comfortable, so you recover as soon as possible.
Having Surgery: What to Expect
It is important to know what to expect before you come for surgery. It is best to prevent and treat pain early and effectively.
Making a Plan to Control Pain
Before surgery, your anesthesiologist will review your medical history and then make a plan with you about what medication to use.
Tablet or IV?
We give most patients heading into surgery oral medicines in a tablet or capsule instead of an IV. Our work here at UVA has shown that oral medicines offer a safe and effective alternative to IV medicines.
Pain medicines taken by mouth, in a patch form or as a suppository also last longer than IV medicines.
We may give you more than one medication. Research shows that using different medicines together results in the same or better pain relief than one medicine alone.
We also offer non-medicine treatments like ice or heat, distraction and relaxation.
Rate Your Pain
Not all pain can be eliminated, so your healthcare team will ask you to rate your pain using the UVA pain rating scale. At any time, tell your healthcare provider:
- When your pain began and how long it lasted
- If the pain is new
- Where you feel your pain
- How much your pain bothers you, and how it feels (sharp, dull or ache)
- What you are unable to do because of your pain
- What makes your pain feel better and what makes it feel worse