Colorado Anesthesia Services Group

What Happens at the End of Your Surgery?

The end of surgery is an important point in the perioperative process, but it is not the end of treatment. This period and the subsequent hours or days involve several essential steps that impact your surgical outcomes and recovery. While the specific steps may vary depending on the type of surgery and individual patient needs, many cases share the same outline as to what happens at the end of surgery to promote patient safety, comfort, and recovery 1.

At the end of your surgery, the first thing that happens is that the surgeon closes the surgical incision with sutures, staples, or adhesive strips. Wound closure aims to achieve hemostasis (control of bleeding), minimize tissue trauma, and promote optimal healing outcomes. Once the incision is closed, a sterile dressing or bandage is applied to protect the wound and absorb any drainage. The dressing serves to maintain a clean and sterile environment around the incision site, prevent infection, and provide support to the surgical area. The surgical team carefully removes all instruments, sponges, and drapes from the surgical field to ensure that no foreign objects are left behind 2,3.

As the surgical procedure concludes, the anesthesia provider begins the process of awakening you from anesthesia. This involves discontinuing the administration of anesthetic agents and providing supportive measures, such as oxygen supplementation and airway management, as needed.

Throughout the postoperative period, vigilant monitoring of vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation, continues to assess your physiological stability 4.

Once you have emerged from anesthesia and are stable, you are transferred to the PACU or recovery area for further monitoring and postoperative care. In the PACU, specialized nursing staff closely monitor your vital signs, pain level, and overall condition, providing appropriate interventions as needed to ensure a smooth recovery. Pain management strategies, such as pharmacological interventions (e.g., analgesics) or non-pharmacological techniques (e.g., ice packs, positioning), are initiated to alleviate discomfort and promote comfort during the recovery period 5,6. You may receive a drink and snack to help your body recover. You may also be given instructions unique to your health condition and procedure.

When applicable, healthcare providers also maintain open communication with your family members, providing updates on the surgical outcome, postoperative instructions, and expectations for recovery. Addressing any concerns or questions helps foster a supportive and collaborative care environment 7.

A lot happens at the end of your surgery to ensure your safety, comfort, and successful transition to the postoperative phase of care. By adhering to established protocols, monitoring vigilantly, and communicating effectively, healthcare providers strive to optimize patient outcomes and facilitate a positive recovery experience following surgery.


1. What You Should Know About Surgery. Available at: (Accessed: 28th March 2024)

2. Wound Closure Techniques – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. Available at: (Accessed: 28th March 2024)

3. Jiang, N. et al. Evaluation of different surgical dressings in reducing postoperative surgical site infection of a closed wound: A network meta-analysis. Int. J. Surg. 82, 24–29 (2020). doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2020.07.066

4. A guide to what happens before, during, and after surgery | Reid Health. Available at: (Accessed: 28th March 2024)

5. What to Expect Before, During and After Your Surgery | Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. Available at: (Accessed: 28th March 2024)

6. What Happens in Surgery – A Guide on What To Expect. Available at: (Accessed: 28th March 2024)

7. Surgery: What to Expect | HealthLink BC. Available at: (Accessed: 28th March 2024)