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Study Guide

Care of the Surgical Patient


  1. Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, Chapter 29 (pp. 639 - 672)
  2. Class lecture notes off the Internet


  1. Atelectasis
    1. obstruction of airway by secretions and closure of bronchioles because of shallow breathing or failure to periodically hyperventilate lungs
  2. Dehiscence
    1. separation of the layers of a surgical wound; may be partial, superficial, or a complete disruption of the surgical wound
  3. Cosmetic surgery
    1. performed primarily to alter or enhance a person's appearance; e.g., revision of scars, liposuction, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty
  4. Curative surgery
    1. performed to resolve a health problem by repairing or removing the cause; e.g., cholelithiasis, mastectomy, hysterectomy
  5. Diagnostic surgery
    1. performed to determine the origin and cause of a disorder or the cell type of a cancer; e.g., breast biopsy, exploratory laparotomy
  6. Elective surgery
    1. planned for correction of a nonacute problem; e.g., cataract removal, hernia repair, total joint replacement
  7. Emergency surgery
    1. requires immediate intervention because of life-threatening consequences; e.g., gunshot wound, stab wound, severe bleeding
  8. Eviseration
    1. protrusion of viscera through a surgical incision
  9. General anesthesia
    1. anesthesia that produces total loss of consciousness by blocking awareness centers in the brain, amnesia (loss of memory), analgesia (insensibility to pain), hypnosis (artificial sleep), and relaxation (rendering a part of the body less tense)
  10. Hemorrhage
    1. excessive blood loss due to the escape of blood from blood vessels
  11. Informed consent
    1. knowledgeable, voluntary permission obtained from a patient to perform a specific test or procedure
  12. Intraoperative phase
    1. begins when the patient is transferred to the operating room bed and ends when the patient is admitted to the postanesthesia area
  13. Minor surgery
    1. procedure without significant risk, often done with local anesthesia; e.g., incision and drainage, muscle biopsy
  14. Major surgery
    1. procedure of greater risk, usually longer and more extensive than a minor procedure; e.g., mitral valve replacement (MVR), pancreas implant, lymph node dissection
  15. Palliative surgery
    1. performed to relieve symptoms of a disease process, but does not cure; e.g., colostomy, nerve root resection, tumor debulking, ileostomy
  16. Perioperative nursing
    1. wide variety of nursing activities carried out before, during, and after surgery
  17. Pneumonia
    1. inflammation or infection of the lungs
  18. Postoperative phase
    1. begins with the admission of the patient to the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) and ends with the discharge of the patient from the hospital or facility providing the continuing care
  19. Preoperative phase
    1. begins when the patient decides to have surgery and ends when the patient is transferred to the operating room bed
  20. Pulmonary embolus
    1. venous thrombus, usually originating in legs, pelvis, or right side of heart, that travels to and becomes trapped in the pulmonary circulation
  21. Radical surgery
    1. extensive surgery beyond the area obviously involved; is directed at finding a root cause; e.g., radical mastectomy or prostatectomy
  22. Regional anesthesia
    1. reduces all painful sensation in one region of the body without inducing unconsciousness
  23. Restorative surgery
    1. performed to improve a patient's functional ability; e.g., total knee replacement, finger reimplantation
  24. Shock
    1. body's reaction to acute peripheral circulatory failure due to an abnormality of circulatory control or to a loss of circulating fluid
  25. Simple surgery
    1. only the most overtly affected areas involved in the surgery; e.g., simple or partial mastectomy
  26. Thrombophlebitis
    1. inflammation in a vein associated with thrombus formation caused by venous stasis, prolonged immobilization, or pressure on vein walls from leg straps in operating room or leg holders for lithotomy position
  27. Urgent surgery
    1. requires prompt intervention; or may be life-threatening if treatment delayed; e.g., intestinal obstruction, bladder obstruction, kidney or urethral stones


  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Read the following PRIOR to class:
    1. Taylor, Lillis, & LeMone, Chapter 29 (pp. 639 - 672)
    2. Class lecture notes off the Internet


  1. Categories of surgical procedures.
  2. Definitions of the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases.
  3. Components of the preoperative nursing assessment of the client.
  4. Content of preoperative teaching of the client.
  5. Content of preoperative physical preparation of the client.
  6. Preoperative gastrointestinal and skin preparation of the client.
  7. Categories of preoperative medications.
  8. Reasons for administering preoperative medications.
  9. Role of the circulating nurse.
  10. Definition and stages of general anesthesia.
  11. Adjuncts to general anesthesia.
  12. Complications of general anesthesia.
  13. Definition of local or regional anesthesia.
  14. Methods to administer local or regional anesthesia.
  15. Postoperative nursing assessment of the client.

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This page was last modified on 1/1/03