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Surgery Services

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When surgery is on your schedule, be sure you have it scheduled at Avera. You have a choice. Expect the best and choose Avera for:

  • Skilled surgical teams; including surgeons, anesthesiologists, certified nurse anesthetists and specialty-trained nurses
  • Expertise in an array of specialties
  • State-of-the-art technology
  • Five-star service and amenities
  • All of the resources of a full-service hospital before, during and after surgery

Where you have surgery is your choice. Make sure you choose the best. Surgery at Avera - there is a difference.

Patients Give Avera Surgery High Marks

  • Generations of Trust - "When Luke needed ear and adnoid surgery, Mom Katie Feimer wanted the best. She chose Avera Sacred Heart Hospital." Read Luke's story.
  • Bariatric Testimony - "After weight loss surgery, everything in my life is better! I sleep better at night and wake up feeling rested and refreshed." Read Jan's story.

Avera Medical Minutes - Surgery



Avera has world-class surgeons, right here at home. Choosing the right surgeon at Avera can substantially reduce your healing time, improve the chances of a positive outcome and ensure a more pleasant experience. Search by specialty below for a list of surgeons and team members.

Inpatient Surgery at Avera

Inpatient procedures usually mean you can expect to stay in the hospital overnight, after your surgery. Inpatient surgery services may include:

  • Advanced surgical techniques, including robotics with the latest three-dimensional, high-definition technology; image-guided brain surgery; and X-Stop spinal surgery.
  • The latest in cancer treatment, including breast and prostate brachytherapy, image-guided radiation; and X-knife surgery
  • The region's only successful solid organ and bone marrow transplants program
  • Bariatric surgery for long-term effective weight loss
  • Neurosurgery for operative care of disorders of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems

Same Day Surgery

Market research clearly indicates that consumers prefer hospital-based, same day surgery centers, where consumers are backed by the services of a full-service hospital when routine surgeries unexpectedly require that support. Avera's same day surgery services and centers are within seconds of critical and emergency services - just in case extra care is ever needed.

How to Choose Where to Have Your Surgery

How do you judge quality? 

Most of us seem to do more research when we buy a car than when we make a healthcare decisions that may have lifelong implications.  Perhaps we don’t know what questions to ask or where to turn for information.  Few resources exist to help consumers rate healthcare or hospitals the way Consumer Reports rates refrigerators.

There are many things to think about before making any important decisions, and this is especially true when it comes to your health.  Before specifically deciding on a hospital or where to receive your healthcare, there are some important safety and quality issues to consider.   

Is the hospital accredited or certified? 

There is a difference.  Accreditation, which is voluntary, is more comprehensive than certification, which is mandatory.  The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), an independent nonprofit organization, conducts a quality assessment of over 5,000 or 80 percent of all hospitals in the United States every three years.  Avera Sacred Heart’s JCAHO accreditation assures there are policies and procedures in place to provide the safest possible environment for both patients and staff and is the only hospital in the 15-county region to attain this designation.

Is the staff experienced and specially trained? 

According to the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality, hospitals that do many of the same types of procedures on a regular basis tend to have better success with them.  In addition to choosing your surgeon and the facility, the surgical staff and their credentials are important factors to consider.  The surgical team at Avera Sacred Heart – operating and recovery room nurses, surgical techs and nurse anesthesia providers - has over 700 years of combined experience.  In 2002, this experienced team handled over 4,000 complex and same-day surgery procedures.

Anesthesia Services: Who’s Watching Your Vital Signs? 

Your anesthesia provider is an important member of the surgical team.  Avera Sacred Heart is the only hospital in the region to have medical doctors specializing in anesthesia, overseeing patient care, along with five certified nurse anesthetists (CRNA’s) on staff.  Anesthesiologists are trained to detect potential problems in surgery and recovery along with being experts in managing post-operative pain.  They carefully screen each patient and then supervise or collaborate with the CRNA’s to carry out your anesthesia plan.

Is there a full-range of services within the facility? 

If a complication occurs during surgery, you want the best medical care and you want it immediately.   Immediate access to a full range of specialty departments within a facility is critical.  If there are not critical care services available in the facility, how will an emergency be handled?  Avera Sacred Heart has a physician on duty 24-hours a day, every day of the year, along with a highly trained staff in the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit available in-house to handle emergent and urgent situations. 

Are there state-of-the-art instruments and equipment in the operating room? 

Avera Sacred Heart invests $3 to $4 million each year to upgrade technology or purchase new hospital equipment to ensure the highest quality care available.

How much privacy do patients have before and after surgery? 

Hospitals should be very concerned about patient’s right to privacy.  Avera Sacred Heart takes privacy very seriously and offers fully enclosed, pre- and post-operative rooms to ensure patient confidentiality. 

How does the hospital check and improve it’s own quality of care? 

More hospitals are trying to improve the quality of their care by tracking patient outcomes for certain procedures.  By finding out what works and what does not, the hospital can improve the way it treats patients.  Avera Sacred Heart’s performance improvement process monitors patient outcomes through an ongoing, intensive patient improvement process and uses the data to improve patient care.

Are the patients satisfied with their care? 

Patient satisfaction surveys provide input from the experience of many patients and can predict what your experience in a particular hospital will be.  Avera Sacred Heart compares itself to other hospitals in the nation as well as in the Avera Health system.  Patient liaison representatives assigned to the surgical floor (5th) daily assess patient satisfaction.  In 2002, Avera Sacred Heart’s Same Day Surgery Department scored above the norm for patient’s assessment of overall quality and well above the norm for patient satisfaction with medical outcomes. 

Is there a continuum of care available from before your operation to rehabilitation? 

Often, patients and families are faced with finding rehabilitation programs after surgery.  Issues to consider are the extent and speed of recovery, patient comfort, and family involvement in the process.  Avera Sacred Heart provides both inpatient and outpatient rehab services with physical, occupational and speech therapists.  Joint surgery patients can attend Joint Camp, a team approach to hasten the recovery process.  In addition, new rehab programs are being offered through the Rehabilitation and Wellness Institute.

Is the hospital a non-profit or a for-profit and what difference does that make?

As a non-profit hospital, Avera Sacred Heart reinvests in other services that need subsidizing to exist such as the Emergency Department, staffed 24 hours a day by a physician and support team.  Avera Sacred Heart’s earnings are reinvested into the community, not distributed to shareholders and contributed over $1.3 million towards community health programs in 2002.  As a nonprofit hospital, Avera Sacred Heart accepts all patients regardless of their ability to pay and provided over $1.1 million of free care to 985 people last year.

Are financial options available? 

Hospital charges vary and pricing estimates may not compare “apples to apples.”  What do the charges include?  Does my health plan cover care at the hospital?  Are there payment installment plan options or resources for financial assistance? 

In Summary, Ask Questions

Each patient has the right to CHOOSE where to have his or her surgery.  This is an important decision and for your own well-being, make an informed choice.   You should be comfortable not only with the choice of your surgeon, but also with the facility and surgical staff.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need extra care during or after surgery?

A surgical unit attached to a full-service hospital has immediate access to an intensive care unit, emergency personnel and a variety of specialists that can address complications that may arise during surgery.  Freestanding surgery hospitals or surgery units at physicians’ clinics typically do not.

Who will be watching my vital signs?

Freestanding surgery hospitals generally employ nurse-anesthetists (CRNA’s).  Hospital generally employ physician anesthesiologists (medical doctors specializing in anesthesia.)

Is the surgical facility accredited or just certified?

Unlike mandatory certification, voluntary accreditation by JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) is for more comprehensive, ensuring adherence to the safest possible policies and procedures.

Does the facility have access to the latest technology?

Full-service, not-for-profit hospitals are often able to reinvest income in leading edge technologies, such as high-tech Endosuites that allow health care professionals to focus entirely on patient needs.

Are rehabilitation programs available on-site?

When you have surgery at a hospital, post-op rehabilitation programs are often available on-site.

How many times has the facility performed the procedure in the past year?

Facilities that perform a particular procedure on a routine basis may experience better outcomes.

Are there private pre- and post-op rooms?  Is the facility clean?

Before deciding on a facility, you may want to visit to get an idea of what it offers in terms of privacy, cleanliness and comfort.

What is the physicians’ experience in doing this operation?

Ask questions!  Ask your surgeon about his or her history with the procedure or ask your regular primary care doctor for input about your surgeon’s qualifications.

Where you have surgery is your choice.  Make sure you choose the best. Surgery at Avera.  There is a difference.

Preparing for Surgery

A phone interview one to two days prior to the surgical procedure usually reviews instructions. Generally, patients are asked to:

  • Abstain from eating or drinking after midnight the day of surgery (This includes water, gum and hard candy).
  • Refer to specific instructions give to you by your doctor
  • Arrive approximately 90 minutes prior to scheduled start, unless otherwise instructed
  • Bring:
    • Completed procedure questionnaire prior to surgery provided to you at your surgeon's office
    • Medications
    • List of allergies, especially to medication
    • Personal items such as toiletries, glasses, contacts, denture supplies
    • Robe and slippers, if you prefer your own
    • Walking shoes
    • Medicare and/or insurance card
    • Living will or durable power of attorney, if desired
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, smoking and chewing tobacco within 48 hours of your scheduled surgery
  • Bathe/shower with soap the night before or the morning of surgery
  • Report to Admissions at the time scheduled

Occasionally, surgery may be delayed due to circumstances beyond our control. If there is a delay, the nursing staff will let you know.

Avera Regional Hospitals