Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington

  • 252 McHenry St
    Burlington, WI 53105

    Phone: 262-767-6000 • Fax: 262-767-6711
    Map and Driving Directions
  • Hours of Operation:
    24 hours/day, 7 days a week.Individual departments vary.

Aurora Health Care offers this information to guide you and your family through the entire surgical experience, from pre-op (before surgery) to surgery, hospitalization and recovery. Understanding what will happen can help prepare you for your time in the hospital. Your questions and concerns are important to us. Please feel free to discuss them with anyone on your health care team. We look forward to serving you.

Before surgery
Preparing for surgery
Day of surgery
Operating room (OR)
Post-op care
Going home
Your hospital stay 

Before surgery
Be sure to arrive at the day and time set by your doctor's office. Free parking is available.

Diet: Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery (including water, gum or candy).

Medication: Ask your doctor if you need to stop any medications before surgery such as blood thinners, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medicines, herbal supplements and diabetic medicines. On the day of surgery, take only the medications you were instructed to take by your doctor, with a sip of water. 

Preparing for surgery
Taking these simple steps can help ensure a safe surgery and quick recovery:

  • If you smoke, quit or at least cut down before surgery. People who don't smoke heal faster than people who smoke.
  • Stop drinking alcohol (liquor, beer and wine) the night before surgery.
  • If you have a fever, cold or rash, call your surgeon. Surgery may need to be postponed.

Discharge arrangements

  • Make arrangements for someone to pick you up from the hospital and stay with you overnight. If you have sedation or anesthesia, you will need to have an adult accompany you home.
  • You will not be allowed to take a cab or bus home by yourself.
  • You will need an adult to stay with you overnight.
  • Please avoid bringing children on the day of surgery.
  • If you need to cancel surgery, please contact your surgeon. 

Day of your surgery
Before you leave home:

  • Shower or bathe the night before or the morning of surgery with an antibacterial soap, if that has been provided to you.
  • Do not apply any lotion, powder, perfume or deodorant after bathing.
  • Remove all makeup, including lipstick and nail polish.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Remove jewelry, including rings, earrings and body piercings.

What to bring:

  • Any X-rays your surgeon has asked you to bring. If you do not bring them, your surgery may be cancelled.
  • Insurance and/or prescription cards and photo identification.
  • Money to pay your co-pay on your discharge prescriptions.
  • A parent or legal guardian if you are under age 18.
  • A small carry-all for personal items that you may need to remove, such as contact lenses, eyeglasses or hearing aids.
  • Blood band, if one was provided.
  • Your completed Living Will or Power of Attorney for Health Care Learn more
  • Inhalers, eye drops, if needed.
  • Medication list.
  • CPAP, crutches, walker, brace, ice therapy, if needed.

Please keep the number of personal items you bring with you to a minimum.

Arrival in Same Day Surgery Department:

  • Before surgery, you will change into a hospital gown and be given an I.D. bracelet to wear until you go home.
  • Remove your eyeglasses or contacts. If you usually wear a hearing aid or dentures, ask if you should remove them.
  • An intravenous (IV) line may be started in an arm or hand vein. This will provide medications and fluids during surgery.
  • Your family or friends will be able to wait with you in Same Day Surgery before your surgery. 

Anesthesia is medication that keeps you comfortable during surgery. Anesthesia is given by a highly trained specialist. This person will see you in Same Day Surgery or in the surgical holding area.

There are four main types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia: you are asleep and unconscious.
  • Regional anesthesia (block): numbs certain areas of the body so that you do not feel pain. You may also receive additional medications to relax you.
  • Monitored sedation: you are kept relaxed and comfortable. You may remain awake and aware throughout the surgery, or you may be drowsy or in a light sleep.
  • Local anesthesia: surgeon injects numbing medication at the surgical site.

Operating room (OR)
On your way to the operating room, you may stop in the surgical holding area. The staff will be with you until you are taken to surgery.

Your surgical team: Your surgeon leads the OR team. Your OR nurse will stay with you throughout the procedure to ensure your needs are met. Other surgical team members may include an anesthesiologist and a surgical assistant/technician. Additional information:

  • Equipment in the OR is there to assist the staff in caring for you.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm.
  • Sticky patches will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart.
  • A clip will be placed on your finger to measure the oxygen level in your blood.
  • If you feel cold, please ask for a blanket.
  • You will be cleansed with an antibacterial solution. 

Post-op care
After your surgery, you may be taken to the recovery room, also called the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit), or Same Day Surgery Department. Some patients are scheduled to recover in an intensive care unit (ICU).

  • Your blood pressure and pulse will be checked frequently.
  • Your nurse will ask you to describe your discomfort by using a "pain scale." The scale ranges from "0" (zero) to "10." Zero means you have no pain, while "10" means you have severe pain.
  • If you have nausea or vomiting, medication can be given to you to help you feel better
  • If a tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery to help you breathe, you might have a mild sore throat 

To speed recovery, you may be asked to breathe deeply, cough and do some simple leg exercises.

Deep breathing and coughing:

  • Breathe in deeply, then hold for a second or two. Breathe out completely and repeat.
  • Breathe in to produce a deep cough (not a shallow cough).

Note: If you have an abdominal incision, support your incision with your hands or a folded blanket when breathing deeply or coughing.

Walking: Walking and moving your legs will help your circulation and body functions return to normal. Don't try to walk until your nurse assists you.

Leg exercises:

  • Point your toes down toward the foot of the bed and then up toward your chin. Repeat often.
  • Draw circles with your big toe, alternating right and left.
  • Bend each knee, one at a time.
  • Push your entire foot toward the foot of the bed, as if pressing on an imaginary board. Alternate feet.

Incision and dressing care:

  • Keep the incision area clean and dry. You will be told when it is safe to shower.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching the incision area. This helps prevent infection.
  • You will be given further instructions before you go home. 

Going home
For patients going home the day of surgery:

  • You can expect to go home one to two hours after returning to the Same Day Surgery area.
  • Make arrangements for someone to drive you home and stay with you the first night.
  • You should stay on a light diet for the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid greasy and spicy foods. Suggested foods: gelatin, toast and soup. Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Continue to eat a well-balanced diet to help you heal.

For patients staying one or more nights in the hospital: Your doctor will tell you when you will be discharged and give you any special instructions. Ask a friend or family member to help you during your recovery.

Be sure to ask about:

  • Medication (how much and when to take)
  • Pain (what to expect, what to do)
  • Physical activity
  • Resuming sexual relations
  • Driving

If you take medications for diabetes, heart disease or other conditions, tell your doctor. Ask about possible reactions between your regular medications and post-op medications. Follow-up care is important to be sure you are healing and recovering safely. Find out:

  • When and where to return for your first follow-up visit
  • Who to call to schedule the appointment
  • When your stitches, staples, drainage tube or cast should be removed

Returning to work depends on your surgery and the type of work you do. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.

Your hospital stay
Aurorahospitals provide the full range of services your surgery requires. Our staff of highly skilled professionals will work with you to meet your needs. Your health care team will perform the tests you need, follow your progress and answer your questions. Depending on your surgery, you will enter as an:

  • Inpatient–Inpatients will spend at least one night in the hospital the day of surgery

Outpatient–Outpatients enter the hospital the day of surgery and leave the same day. See our same day surgery patient recovery plan (PDF, 3 MB)