general surgery patient resources

General Surgery: What to Expect

Know what to expect, so you have a good experience

Learning that you need surgery can be worrisome. But knowing what to expect can help you feel less anxious, so you can focus on feeling better.

Our whole-person approach means you are not alone in the process. We take time to explain what will happen and encourage you to ask questions. Read on to learn more.

What to expect when you’re having surgery at Adventist Health

Exceptional surgical care at Adventist Health includes:


You meet with the surgeon during an office visit. Our experts get to know you as an individual. Then they review your health history, medical records test results and perform a physical exam. This information helps us confirm whether surgery is right for you.

If we recommend surgery, we explain how it can help you. If you have options, you can make an informed decision.

Pre-operative testing, clearance and insurance approval

You may need special tests to get clearance for surgery. This may include imaging studies or consultations from other Adventist Health specialists, like cardiologists. Our team coordinates the details, so you can focus on your health. If you have other medical conditions, such as diabetes, we help you get them under control before surgery.


It’s important to take good care of yourself in the days before surgery. Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and follow your surgeon’s instructions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may have to fast the day before surgery and stop taking certain medications.

Surgery day

Bring your insurance information and photo ID with you to the hospital. Leave valuables at home. After checking in, a nurse brings you to a room and prepares you for your procedure. You are welcome to ask questions. If you need emotional support, we take extra steps to help you feel comfortable. If you wear dentures or glasses, please make sure they’re packed in your belongings.

Your procedure

Adventist Health offers a broad range of surgeries. Find out more about surgery types we offer.

Trusted experts deliver treatments using the latest techniques and maintain high success rates. We use minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic techniques whenever possible. These methods require small incisions and are gentler on your body.


You wake up from surgery in our recovery area. Nurses pay careful attention during this time so you stay safe and comfortable. When it is safe to do so, we help you get out of bed and start moving. You may be able to eat something after a few hours.


The length of your hospital stay depends on your health history and type of surgery you had. Many patients go home the same day. Find out more about same-day surgery and early discharge.

Before discharge, we run final tests to make sure you are healthy enough to go home. Nurses explain at-home care instructions in ways that are easier for you and your loved ones to understand.

Follow-up care

Care plans typically include at least one follow-up visit. To give you the personalized attention you deserve, this visit is often with the surgeon who performed your procedure. Some patients may be eligible for virtual visits. If you need help before your visit, the team is always available by phone.

More information

If you’d like to learn more, read our general surgery FAQs.

Let us be your partner in health

Learn more about our general surgery servicesfind a location near you or find a local doctor specializing in general surgery.