What to Expect the Day of Surgery

Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with choosing Mary Greeley Medical Center for surgery. While you stay near your home in central Iowa, you can access outstanding care from experts who treat you with compassion and dignity.

What to Bring

If you’re an adult, you can bring one support person with you on the day of your surgery. Two adults may accompany a child getting surgery.

Bring the following with you to the medical center:

  • Health insurance card
  • List of medications you take and any allergies
  • Change of clothing, including underwear
  • Glasses or contact case and supplies, if needed
  • Hearing aids, if needed

What Not to Bring

Leave at home:

  • Medications, as you will not be allowed to take them at the medical center
  • Valuables such as cash or jewelry

When Should I Arrive?

Arrive at the medical center at the time your physician specifies so our staff has enough time to prepare you for your procedure.

Driving Policies

Ask a friend or loved one over age 18 with a driver’s license to give you a ride to and from the medical center. For your safety, do not walk home or take a taxi or CyRide city bus. You will not be able to drive yourself home following your procedure. Ask your doctor when you can drive again.


On the day of your appointment, your driver may park your car free of charge in the parking ramp located across the street south of the medical center. Parking is available in the surface lots west of the medical center.

What to Expect

When you arrive, come to the information desk inside the main entrance of the medical center. An admissions representative will check you in promptly. You’ll then meet with a registered nurse who will answer any questions and make sure you’re ready for your procedure.

Your care team will prepare you for surgery in a comfortable, private preoperative room. Then, depending on your procedure, you’ll move to:

  • Cardiac catheterization laboratory
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) services department
  • One of our dedicated operating rooms (ORs)

How Long Will My Surgery Take?

The amount of time your procedure takes depends on the type of surgery you’re having and other factors. Ask your care team how long your procedure may last.

Your Comfort & Safety

Trust your multidisciplinary team to follow the latest, evidence-based practices to help you reach the best outcome. Your team will:

  • Make sure you stay warm and comfortable in the preoperative, operating, and recovery rooms and monitor you closely
  • Give you an antibiotic (a drug to prevent bacterial infection) about 30 to 60 minutes before surgery
  • Trim hair, if needed, around the surgery site instead of shaving it, preventing small cuts that could increase the risk of infection

Types of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a safe medicine given intravenously (through an IV) or through an injection to prevent pain during surgery. Depending on your surgery and other factors, you may have:

  • Local anesthesia – Numbs just the specific part of the body receiving treatment
  • Regional anesthesia – Numbs a larger area of the body
  • General anesthesia – Causes loss of consciousness, which means you’ll sleep and have no memory of surgery

Symptom & Stress Relief

To help you relax and prevent discomfort, you may receive:

  • Aromatherapy, which uses essential oils that smell pleasant to help you relax
  • Pain and sedative medications
  • Relaxing music
  • Warming blankets

In the OR

You’ll benefit from special techniques to make sure the area where you have your surgery is clean and free of germs (sterile).

At Mary Greeley Medical Center, we use one set of surgical tools, drapes, and sometimes gowns at the start of your procedure, then use a clean new set at the end of the procedure. All the tools your surgeon uses go through an intensive cleaning process thanks to Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Sterile Processing Department (SPD).

Count on our OR staff to:

  • Wear scrubs professionally cleaned by Midwest Healthcare Textile Services (MHTS), a health care-specific laundry service, and special OR jackets
  • Keep hair and ears covered
  • Never bring personal items into the OR

Minimally Invasive Techniques

Whenever possible, your surgeon will use minimally invasive techniques or robotic technology to do your procedure. You’ll benefit from a faster recovery with smaller incisions and less risk of complications such as pain and infection.

Visitors & Loved Ones

Your family, friends, and caregivers play an important role in your recovery. That’s why they’ll receive education and guidance from our staff, so they can best support you.

Day-Of-Surgery Policies

On the day of your procedure, children or adults who need supervision should stay home. Your support person can come with you into the preoperative room before you go to the OR.

During the Procedure

If you have:

  • Outpatient (same-day) surgery, your support person can stay in the preoperative room
  • Inpatient surgery, which means you’ll stay overnight in the hospital after the procedure, your support person can wait in our family waiting room

Your loved ones can stay up-to-date on the progress of your surgery thanks to our communication boards. With your permission, your surgeon can visit them for an in-person conversation about the results after the procedure.