Phone: 973-940-3166
Fax: 973-940-3170
Billing: 570-386-2366

What is an IV and Why Do You Need it?


When people picture surgery in their minds, doctors with masks, oxygen, and IVs may come to mind. You may be wondering what IV stands for and what it does in the first place. It may be frightening to have tubes coming out of you, but it is extremely important during the procedures we do at Specialty Surgical Center. So why do you need an IV and what does it do? Our team is here to explain.

IV actually only stands for one word: intravenous. This means that medicine will be given to you directly into your veins. It can go into veins in your hand (especially with children), inner elbow, and sometimes in the wrist. Our physicians will choose the spot based on which veins are easy to see so they don’t need to poke you several times in order to get the IV in. The needle is used to fit a tube called a catheter into vein for access to the medicine. The needle is removed after the catheter is in place. Once the IV is in place, you should be able to move your arm around without any pain because the catheter is flexible.

An IV can have many purposes. But for surgery, it is initially used for anesthesia. An IV may be administered about an hour pre-operatively so our anesthesiologists can put medicine into the IV to put you to sleep. After the surgery, an IV may be used to give periodic doses of pain medication. Sometimes patients feel nauseous after surgery, so medication to help the uneasy feeling can be put through the IV line as well. Other times, an IV is simply used to make sure you are getting enough fluid and remain hydrated.

Most patients do not experience any complications with their IV and it can be put in and taken out with very little pain, if any. However, infection can occur if bacteria enter into the body. To prevent this, the Specialty Surgical Center staff uses sterile needles and disinfects the skin before the IV is put in. Bacteria may be introduced if the patient touches their IV. Please let your anesthesiologist or physician know if your IV gets itchy, red, or irritated.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.