1. Acupuncture
  2. Advanced Gastroenterology and Nutrition
  3. Audiology
  4. Autism
  5. Bariatric Surgery
  6. Behavioral Health
  7. Billing
  8. Blood Donation
  9. Breast Care Program
  10. Bright Tomorrows Preschool and Child Care Center
  11. Briteside Adult Day Center
  12. Cancer Care
  13. Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
  14. Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
  15. Careers
  16. Center for Advanced Weight Loss
  17. Center for Bone and Joint Health
  18. Center for Endocrine Health
  19. Center for Healthy Aging
  20. Center for Nutrition and Diabetes Management
  21. Central Jersey Regional Memory Center
  22. Child Development Center
  23. Concussion
  24. CPR Training Center
  25. DaVinci Robotic Surgery
  26. Daycare
  27. Developmental Pediatric Associates
  28. Diabetes
  29. Diabetes / Center for Nutrition and Diabetes Management
  30. Diabetes and Endocrine Associates of Hunterdon
  31. Donate Blood
  32. Donate to Hunterdon Healthcare
  33. Early Intervention Program
  34. Emergency Department
  35. Employment
  36. Family Medicine
  37. Family Medicine Residency Program
  38. Geriatrics
  39. Hearing
  40. Hearing Aids
  41. Heart & Vascular Care
  42. Hip Replacement
  43. Home Health
  44. Hospice
  45. How to Make an Appointment
  46. Hunterdon Behavioral Health
  47. Hunterdon Center for Dermatology
  48. Hunterdon County Medication Access Program
  49. Hunterdon County Special Child Health Services Case Management Unit
  50. Hunterdon Family & Sports Medicine at Hopewell Valley
  51. Hunterdon Family Medicine
  52. Hunterdon Family Medicine at Branchburg
  53. Hunterdon Family Medicine at Cornerstone
  54. Hunterdon Family Medicine at County Line
  55. Hunterdon Family Medicine at Delaware Valley
  56. Hunterdon Family Medicine at Highlands
  57. Hunterdon Family Medicine at Phillips-Barber
  58. Hunterdon Family Medicine at Riverfield
  59. Hunterdon Health and Wellness Centers
  60. Hunterdon Healthy Connections
  61. Hunterdon Infectious Disease Specialists
  62. Hunterdon Internal Medicine Associates
  63. Hunterdon Lifeline
  64. Hunterdon Medical Center Foundation
  65. Hunterdon Pediatric Associates
  66. Hunterdon Pulmonary and Critical Care
  67. Hunterdon Reflux and Motility Center
  68. Hunterdon Regional Breast Care Program
  69. Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center
  70. Hunterdon Regional Community Health
  71. Hunterdon Regional Pharmacy
  72. Hunterdon Urological Associates
  73. Hunterdon Women’s Imaging Center
  74. Hunterdon Wound Healing Center
  75. Infusion Services
  76. Integrative Medicine Program
  77. Internships
  78. Knee Replacement
  79. Laboratory Services
  80. Lifeline
  81. Mammography
  82. Maternity
  83. Medical Imaging
  84. Medication Program
  85. Memory Center
  86. Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians
  87. Nursing Services
  88. Nutrition
  89. Pain Management
  90. Palliative Care
  91. Partnership for Health
  92. Pediatric Rehabilitation
  93. Pediatric Speech and Hearing Services
  94. Physical & Occupational Therapy
  95. Physicians
  96. Primary Care
  97. Psychiatric Associates of Hunterdon
  98. Pulmonary Care
  99. Reflux
  100. Sleep Disorders Centers
  101. Speech & Hearing
  102. The Child Development Center
  103. The Early Intervention Program
  104. Thrift Shop
  105. Visiting Health and Supportive Services
  106. Volunteer Resources
  107. Weight Loss
  108. Wellness Centers
  109. Wound Healing
  110. X-ray
  111. Yesterday's Treasures

FAQs About Surgery at Hunterdon Medical Center

Before Surgery

The Day of Surgery



Inpatient Surgery

At Home after Surgery


My doctor says I need surgery; now what?
Any surgery that is scheduled ahead of time is considered elective. Emergency surgeries are non-elective because their lifesaving nature requires that action be taken immediately.
If your doctor has informed you that you need surgery, your first step is to contact your insurance company to determine what services and providers are covered. You should then schedule your pre-operative testing.

Is my surgery covered by insurance?
Each insurance plan has different requirements to be met before obtaining approval for a surgical procedure. You must contact a representative from your insurance company to make sure all of our services and providers are covered and that any required referrals and second opinions have been obtained.

What pre-op testing do I need?
Your doctor will require that you undergo diagnostic testing and laboratory procedures before your surgery to make sure that you are in optimal condition for recovery. Depending on your age and medical condition, these may include:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • electrocardiogram
  • CAT scan or X-rays

It is at this point in time that patient education is conducted.

Where and when can I have my pre-op testing completed?
For the most part, pre-op testing can be completed right at Hunterdon Medical Center. You can schedule your pre-op testing up to two weeks before your surgery, although certain blood work must wait until the days immediately before. The Ambulatory Testing Center is located on the hospital's second floor. You can schedule pre-op testing between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 908-788-6666 to schedule your testing.

What do I need for pre-op testing?
It is important to make sure your insurance plan provides coverage for these tests and that all tests are performed by approved providers. Bring your insurance card, a driver's license and two other forms of identification to your appointment.

How should I pack for my stay at the hospital?
First, we'll tell you what not to bring. These include any prescriptions from home, as your doctors will want to administer and monitor all of your medications, and any valuables. What you'll want is comfortable pajamas or loose-fitting clothing and personal toiletries. Slippers and a robe are useful.

Do I need to abstain from food or drink before surgery?
Typically, surgical patients are advised to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night prior to surgery. However, your surgeon may have specific requirements depending on the surgery you are having. It is best to confer with your surgeon at least a week prior to surgery to find out his or her recommendations.

How do I know what time to be at the hospital the day of my surgery?
A representative from your surgeon’s office will call the night before and confirm what time your operation has been scheduled and what time to report to the hospital – usually an hour before surgery.

-- Top of Page --


What must I have with me when I am admitted?
Bring a valid insurance card and any authorization forms from your insurance company. Don't forget payment if your insurance plan has a deductible. Also bring a copy of your Living Will (link to corresponding question regarding living will and advance directive) or Advance Directive (link to corresponding question regarding living will and advance directive) if one isn't already on file at the hospital.

Do I need a living will and/or advance directive?
Making decisions ahead of time regarding life-sustaining treatment should you become unable to do so for yourself is the best gift you can give your loved ones struggling in a crisis.

A Living Will is a document or statement that indicates the life-sustaining measures you would like performed or denied, including CPR, antibiotic treatments and life support. It can be very specific or general.

New Jersey law requires that we ask whether or not you have done so in the form of a Living Will or Advance Directive as part of Admissions. You should discuss your plans with your physician ahead of time to ensure that you are both comfortable with your choices.

To obtain information on Advanced Wills and Living Directives, stop by the Admitting Office or ask one of your nurses.

Where should I go the day of surgery?
Go to the Same Day Center on the second floor of the hospital at the time designated by your surgeon’s office. At this time, you will be fitted with an identification band. This is for your protection and should remain around your wrist at all times.

You will be given a hospital gown and prepped for surgery.

Depending on the procedure you are having, you will walk or be rolled on a stretcher to the operating room holding area. Your surgical nurse and anesthesiologist will then ask you questions about your medical history, your present condition and any allergies or medications you are taking. Don't be alarmed or annoyed by these questions. Although they seem repetitive or obvious, they are completely necessary and are for your own safety.

Who will be in the operating room during my surgery?
Your surgeon will be joined by one or more surgical assistants or physicians, as well as an anesthesiologist to control your pain level and monitor your overall condition. There will also be a nurse overseeing your needs and a scrub nurse who prepares the instruments and supplies.

-- Top of Page --


What types of anesthesia are available?
There are three main types of anesthesia:

  1. Local anesthesia: Used only for minor procedures on a specific area of the body, local anesthesia involves the injection of a local anesthetic (numbing agent) directly into the surgical area to block pain sensation. The patient may remain awake, although he or she typically receives medicine to help relax or sleep during the procedure.
  2. Regional anesthesia: Used to block pain to a larger but still limited part of the body, regional anesthesia includes the injection of a local anesthetic (numbing agent) around major nerves or the spinal cord. Again, the patient may be awake, but will likely receive medicine to help relax or sleep during the procedure. Types of regional anesthesia include spinal blocks and epidurals.
  3. General anesthesia: Given intravenously (through a vein) or inhaled, general anesthesia affects the entire body, including the brain. The patient is completely unaware and does not feel any pain during surgery. Additionally, patients who receive general anesthesia often experience forgetfulness (amnesia) immediately following surgery (postoperative period).

How do you determine what type of anesthesia I need?
The type of surgery you are having often determines the type of anesthesia used. Many minor procedures are typically performed using local anesthesia. Other surgeries are best performed using a regional anesthesia, while major surgical procedures require general anesthesia for the patient.

An anesthesiologist will also review your health history prior to the procedure.

What are the side effects of anesthesia?
The anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits associated with the various anesthetic options. Although all types of anesthesia involve some risk, major complications or side effects are quite rare.

New anti-nausea drugs and better monitoring have reduced the risk of complications from anesthesia in recent years.

An anesthesiologist is in the operating room during your entire surgical procedure. Some complications or side effects can occur with each anesthetic option even while being monitored carefully.
The anesthesiologist collaborates with your surgeon to …

  • Monitor your wellbeing and safety throughout your surgery
  • Develop a plan with you for your anesthetic
  • Provide your anesthetic
  • Plan your pain control with you
  • Give any transfusions you may need
  • Offer immediate care following anesthesia

Will I wake up during surgery?
If you are having general anesthesia, you should not wake up during surgery. Your anesthesiologist will be with you at all times to ensure that a sufficient amount of anesthesia is provided to produce a state of unconsciousness. If you are having general anesthesia, you will be asleep [unconscious] – perhaps even with dreaming – during your entire operation.

With other types of anesthesia, such as regional or local anesthesia with sedation, it is more likely you will wake up during surgery. Because the numbing agent used during these types of anesthesia are designed to prevent pain, many patients wake up during surgery but are not uncomfortable. If you develop pain during a local or regional anesthesia procedure, it is important to tell your anesthesiologist right away.

How soon after surgery will I wake up?
Most patients wake up within minutes following the end of the operation. When you wake up depends on your age, operation and medical conditions. Typically, the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist stops administering anesthesia medications as surgery is finishing or bandages are being applied, Shortly thereafter, you will emerge, or “wake up,” from the anesthesia.

-- Top of Page --


Where will I go when my surgery is complete?
You will be transported to the PACU, or Post Anesthesia Care Unit, where you will be under continuous monitoring until you awaken. After clearance from your attending surgeon, you will be returned to your room. This usually takes from one to two hours following the completion of your surgery.

How will I feel after surgery?

The combination of surgery plus anesthesia may result in some discomfort following surgery.
Some common symptoms after surgery with anesthesia include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Your anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, along with the nurses in the post-op area will do their best to minimize these side effects as you fully emerge from anesthesia.

Pain is also common following surgery. Your anesthesiologist and your surgeon will develop a plan to minimize your discomfort after an operation. They may offer local anesthetics at the surgical site, as well as intravenous and oral pain medications.

Patients who go home after their operation are typically provided with oral pain medication to use during the first few days after surgery. Patients who are admitted to the hospital following surgery may have more options for pain control, including pain medication on demand (commonly referred to as PCA – patient-controlled analgesia) and continuous regional anesthesia, such as an epidural.

You may also bruise after surgery. Even if the surgical incision is quite small, a larger area of your body may be disrupted beneath the incision, and bruises commonly develop.

-- Top of Page --


Where is the surgical floor located in the hospital?
Hunterdon Medical Center’s Surgical Specialty Unit is located in 5 North, on the fifth floor of the hospital.

Are the rooms private?
5 North is a 34-bed surgical unit. There is a mixture of private and semi-private rooms.

What amenities are available?
The staff of the Surgical Specialty Unit strives to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Upon arrival in our Surgical Specialty Unit, you will receive a gift bag with slippers, toiletry items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste and soap and shampoo, bottled water and mints. Room service is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How do you facilitate my recovery?
Along with providing the medical care you need following surgery, Hunterdon’s Surgical Specialty Unit offers holistic nursing care, to treat your whole body. Some of the holistic services we offer include:

  • Soothing lotions for a back rub
  • Herbal teas
  • Heated blankets
  • Spiritual literature
  • Videos and music for meditation and relaxation
  • Pet therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Reiki

How long will I stay in the hospital?
Lengths of stay vary from patient to patient, depending on the type of procedure performed, your medical history and your current state of health.

Discharge from the surgical unit is based on a number of factors. Typically, you need to be able to urinate on your own, be no longer nauseous and have your pain under control.

Ask your surgeon for more information on how long he or she anticipates your hospital stay to be.

-- Top of Page --


What are my instructions for recovering at home?
You will be given detailed instructions for recovering at home when you are discharged from either the Same Day Center or the inpatient Surgical Specialty Unit.

Additionally, you may be provided with prescriptions for medication that your surgeon deems necessary for your recovery. These prescriptions can be filled at our retail pharmacy on site in Hunterdon Medical Center before you even leave the hospital.

Please be sure to follow all discharge instructions as noted to avoid infections and to recover quickly.

Do I need to meet with my surgeon after I go home?
Yes. You should schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon before leaving the hospital. Typically, this appointment should be scheduled for two weeks after your surgeon, sooner if your surgeon suggests otherwise.

 -- Top of Page --