3 Phases of the Perioperative Process

The perioperative process is the medical term for surgery, and it includes three different phases: the preoperative phase, the intraoperative phase, and the postoperative phase. Even though every type of surgery is different, they can always be characterized by these phases. This process allows surgeries to be as quick and efficient as possible.

Preoperative Phase

The first stage of surgery is the preoperative phase. It starts when the decision to have surgery is made, and lasts until the patient is actually taken into surgery. The main goal during this phase is to calm down any anxieties the patient may have. Before reaching the hospital, the surgeon or doctor that suggested surgery is usually in charge of preparing the patient for the procedure. After admittance, the patient will be in the care of preoperative nurses.

The preoperative phase can last a very short time in the instances of emergency surgeries or acute trauma. However, the time varies greatly between different procedures. Patients undergoing surgery may need to fast for a period of time or wait for donors in the case of organ transplants. Either way, the patient will be in constant contact with the appropriate doctors and nurses for any new information.

Intraoperative Phase

After the patient is fully prepared and has made their way to the operation room, the intraoperative phase will begin. This phase encompasses the actual surgery itself and ends when the patient leaves the operating room. First, the patient will be prepped with any anesthesia needed. If the surgery is to be done while they are awake, a local or regional anesthetic will be administered. This is to prevent the patient from feeling pain during the surgery. If they need to be asleep during the operation, general anesthesia will be administered so that the patient can be unconscious during the procedure.

Before any incisions are made, the patient’s vitals will be checked to ensure their body is healthy enough to undergo the operation. This includes their heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. These will be monitored throughout the entire surgery as well.

The surgery will be led by the surgeon, but there are many team members who are involved. An anaesthesiologist will administer any necessary anesthesia, and others will be crucial in assisting the surgeon, preventing infections, and cleaning up.

Postoperative Phase

The third and final phrase is the postoperative phase, which begins when the patient leaves the operation room. Many operations will only require a few hours of recovery, but more intense procedures will possibly need months to recuperate. This can include bed rest, rehabilitation, and post-surgery treatments.

First, after the surgery, the patient will be transferred to a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) until they awake. When they are ready to return to a normal hospital room, the perioperative nurse will usually take care back over. The main objective of this phase is to monitor and recover. Vitals will be closely watched, and any prescribed medications will be administered. Depending on the type of operation, the patient may need mobility, urination, or hydration assistance, and all of these will be monitored for improvement.

When the patient is ready to depart the hospital, they will be sent home with any prescriptions and instructions for home care. While the postoperative phase will come to a close, subsequent doctor’s visits or consultations may be necessary for full recovery.
Together, the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases ensure a safe and efficient surgery. It also allows the hospital to maximize the number of surgeries they are able to complete by organizing supplies and staff, which in turn benefits patients needing procedures done.

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