Why you should avoid afternoon surgery

Surgery team fatigue and shift changes might spell problems for afternoon surgeries, Dr. Anthony Youn observes.

Story highlights

  • Research shows the time of day you have surgery can affect your outcome
  • Nausea, vomiting and postoperative pain may increase for afternoon surgeries
  • A sleepy surgery team and shift change may be factors
It's 3 p.m. You're checked into the hospital for a routine surgery, scheduled to begin in 15 minutes. This is the first operation you've had.
Lying on a small gurney, covered only by a thin patient gown, you begin to shiver. Your heart pounds. Four words race through your head: "Am I gonna die?"
Then you meet the operating room team. The anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist and operating room nurse all exude a combination of compassion and confidence. This is just what you need.
Your pulse slows, and the shakes disappear. The surgeon and OR nurse hold each of your hands. The anesthesiologist then injects a powerful sedative. The last thing you hear prior to drifting off is, "We'll take good care of you."