OHSU

Your Surgical Stay

At the OHSU Brain Institute, we are honored you chose us for your care. We know you might feel overwhelmed as you get ready for surgery. Your OHSU Brain Institute healthcare team is here to help you.

This information introduces healthcare team members who may care for you and gives details about your surgery, hospital stay and going home.

Your Healthcare Team Members

Neurosurgeons

Neurosurgeons are doctors who specialize in surgery on the brain and nervous system. All your care will be supervised by an OHSU attending (supervising) neurosurgeon: Dr. Delashaw, Dr. Dogan or Dr. Coppa.

Our neurosurgery team also includes a fellow. A fellow is a fully trained neurosurgeon who is spending an additional year of training learning more about complex brain surgery. Every fellow is already a specialist, with seven years of residency training (training after medical school). All our neurosurgeons, including our fellow, can provide you with the highest-quality specialty care.

Physician Assistants

A physician assistant is a healthcare provider with an advanced degree in the medical sciences and a physician assistant degree. Physician assistants are licensed healthcare providers. Our OHSU Brain Institute physician assistants have almost 20 years of experience in neurosurgical patient care.

At the OHSU Brain Institute, our physician assistants play an important role in your care before and after surgery and while you are in the hospital.

Neurosurgical Residents

Our neurosurgical residents are training to become attending neurosurgeons. They are medical doctors who have graduated from medical school. Neurosurgical residents train for seven years. In this time, they learn how to provide medical and surgical care for people with nervous system disorders. Neurosurgical residents may be involved in your care.

Other Services and Teams

Your OHSU Brain Institute team works with experts from around OHSU to make sure you receive the best care. For example, members of our neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU) team may be an important part of your hospital care. Its team leaders are called attending intensivists. These are medical doctors who specialize in taking care of people in the hospital with serious conditions. The NSICU team includes physician assistants, nurse practitioners and NSICU residents.

Because OHSU is a teaching hospital (has a medical school), you might meet medical students and surgery residents (doctors training to become general surgeons).

Day of Surgery

On the day of your surgery, please check in at Admitting on the 9th floor of OHSU Hospital. When it is time for your surgery, you are moved to the preoperative area, where you meet nurses, members of the anesthesia team and operating room nursing staff.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) ( recovery room). Families are not allowed in the recovery room, but you can see your family members when you get to your hospital room.

If you have cranial (head) surgery, your hospital room will be in the neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU). After you leave the recovery room, we will take you to the hospital imaging center for a CT scan of your head before going to your hospital room. The CT scan allows your healthcare team to check for any problems in the area of surgery.

After cranial (head) surgery

If you had cranial (head) surgery, you will be cared for in the neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU). On the first night of your hospital stay, the nurses will check you every hour. They will check to see how your brain and nervous system are working after the surgery. You might feel like you are not allowed to rest, but these checks are needed at first so we can make sure you are recovering well and catch any problems early.

People caring for you in the NSICU include:

  • The NSICU attending physician (supervising doctor)
  • Nurses
  • Neurosurgery residents
  • Physician assistants
  • Speech therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists

If you are doing well after your first night, we will move you to another part of the hospital where you can rest without as many interruptions.

Your Hospital Stay

Many members of your healthcare team will take care of you in the hospital after pituitary surgery. Some members are:

  • Physician assistants – our physician assistants give most of your hospital care after surgery
  • Neurosurgery residents – assist the physician assistants
  • Doctors – attending neurosurgeon (supervising neurosurgeon)
  • Fellow – doctor completing advanced training in head and brain surgery

A doctor will check on you every day of your hospital stay. Your attending (supervising) neurosurgeon always knows how you are doing. If you have any questions about your care, please ask any member of your healthcare team.

Length of your hospital stay

How long you spend in the hospital is different for every patient. Most people stay for several days after cranial (head) surgery. After your first night, how long you stay depends on how well you are feeling and how quickly you get back to daily activities such as getting out of bed and walking.

After cranial surgery, you may go to a rehabilitation center, nursing care center or straight home. If you go home, therapists and other healthcare providers may visit you there to help you recover.

Leaving the Hospital After Surgery

When you leave the hospital after surgery, we give you a printed sheet of instructions. It has information about:

  • Taking care of your surgery area
  • Activities you can do
  • Activities you should not do
  • When to call the doctor or get emergency care if you have problems

We will give you prescriptions for any medications you need.

Asking Questions About Your Surgery and Recovery

If you have general questions about your surgery, anyone on your healthcare team can usually answer them.

Your attending (supervising) surgeon can answer more specific questions, such as:

  • How much of your tumor was removed
  • The results of pathology tests (laboratory tests of tumor tissue)
  • Anything implanted (placed) in your head during surgery
  • Other decisions during surgery

If a family member is with you in the hospital, you can ask them to write your questions down so you can ask when the doctor checks on you.

Please have just one person (you or one family member) ask medical questions. If many people ask questions, your healthcare team may have to repeat the answers and explain your condition many different times. This takes time away from your care and can cause confusion. Have one person who asks questions and gives information to the rest of your family.

For Family Members

Whether you are a patient, family member or visitor, we want to make your stay at OHSU as comfortable as possible. We provide a variety of places for you to eat, fill prescriptions and shop for gifts or essentials. Learn more