Day of surgery

Having a clear idea of what to expect can help you feel more comfortable on the day of your surgery. 

Before you arrive

The day before surgery, a nurse from the hospital’s Admitting Department will call to confirm the time of your surgery. It’s a good idea to leave a few minutes earlier than you need to, so you arrive on time.

Pack high quality masks that you can wear throughout your stay to reduce the risk of infection. Coughing after surgery can cause complications and infections can slow down postoperative healing. You can also request that your health care providers wear a mask while they are caring for you.

Follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding bathing and when to stop eating, drinking or taking medications.

Checking in

When you check in at the hospital, you’ll get a wristband with the name and gender found on your BC Services Card A BC Services Card is government-issued ID. You can use it as photo ID to verify your identity or age. If you're enrolled in MSP, it provides access to health services. It can be combined with your driver's license. . If this is different from the name or gender you use, ask for a “Name Alert” wristband with your correct name and pronouns. You can also ask for this information to be put on the front of your chart.

Once you’re checked in

You’ll be taken to either a room or a curtained area with a hospital bed where a nurse will share next steps with you. They’ll give you a hospital gown to change into, a basket to hold your belongings and possibly some medication. You will be given some privacy to wash and change into a hospital gown. The surgeon may visit you, do some assessments on the blood vessels in your arms and legs and make some drawings on your body to guide the procedure.

Going to the operating room

When it’s time for your surgery to begin, the nurses will help you onto the surgical table, put on a blood pressure cuff and attach some monitors. The surgeon may ask you to confirm the name of the procedure you are receiving and the anesthesiologist will talk you through the process of going under anesthesia.

Once the anesthesia has put you to sleep, the surgeon will begin the procedure.

Immediately after the surgery

Once the surgery is finished, you’ll be taken to a recovery area, where nurses will monitor you closely until the anesthesia wears off.

When you wake up, you may already be wearing your compression vest. If you need to get out of bed, walk around, or go to the washroom, nurses will help you to ensure you’re safe. If you request it, nurses will also call your support people to provide an update.

Your chest may feel unusual. This usually goes away after a few days. Your chest may also feel hard and firm to the touch. It will slowly soften as your body heals over the coming months.

You’ll likely be discharged from the hospital the day of your surgery. Before you leave, the nurse will give you papers containing your discharge instructions and possibly a prescription. You will likely receive painkillers and antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection.

Now that your surgery is complete, you’ll want to go home and rest and begin focusing on your recovery.

Getting home after the surgery

After surgery, you won’t be able to drive so you’ll need someone 18 years or older to escort you back to your home or accommodations. You’ll also need someone to supervise you for 24 hours following surgery. 

If you do not have someone to escort you after surgery, Hospital Transfers may be a good option to help you get home or to your accommodation. 

Download the surgery workbook

This workbook contains worksheets, exercises and checklists related to chest construction

Need support?

Contact our team of experienced health navigators for information about gender-affirming care in B.C.