Preparing for Surgery: What You Need to Know

It’s important to follow all instructions provided to you before your surgery. All too often patients arrive for their outpatient procedure only to find that their procedure has to be cancelled or postponed for reasons that are completely avoidable.

How can you limit this possibility?

For starters, be sure to get all of your pretests, which can include blood tests, EKG, X-ray or appointments with other physicians or the anesthesiologist. It’s also important to speak with your doctor regarding any medications you should or should not take prior to surgery.

We understand that it also helps when patients know what to expect before, during and after surgery. Here’s what you need to know:

Before Surgery You Should:

  • Expect a call from one of our nurses. We’ll call at least one business day before your surgery to go over important information including your arrival time, time of surgery, when you should stop eating and drinking and where you should report for surgery.

  • Set up a plan to ensure that you arrive early—and prepared. We ask that all patients arrive at least two hours before their scheduled surgery. You should also:

  • Take medications as instructed by your surgeon, anesthesiologist or primary care doctor before 5am the morning of surgery with a glass of water.

  • Complete all tasks that were asked of you (for example, enema or bowel preparation)

  • Take a shower using antibacterial soap (such as Safeguard® or Dial®) or use wipes as instructed before you arrive for your surgery.

  • Focus on the small things that matter, by taking care to: Brush your teeth before surgery without swallowing; wear clean, comfortable, loose-fitting clothing; bring prosthetic, orthopedic devices or other medical equipment if your doctor prescribed them—including glasses, hearing aids, and dentures and a case for safe storage during your procedure.

  • Bring toiletries, a change of clothes and anything else you feel you will need if you’ll be staying with us overnight.

  • Carry your identification, medical insurance card and co-payment if necessary.

  • Arrange for the help you’ll need before and after surgery.

  • Ask a responsible adult over the age of 18 to accompany you to the hospital and home following surgery. We highly recommend that an adult stay with you for the first 24 hours after your procedure.

  • Bring a copy of your Advance Directives, if necessary.

  • Call your surgeon’s office immediately if you have questions, are feeling unwell or need to cancel your surgery.

Before Surgery You Should NOT:

  • Eat anything after midnight before surgery (including candy, mints and cough drops) unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon or anesthesiologist.

  • Drink anything other than water after midnight before surgery.  You may have plain water up until 5am before surgery.

  • Drink alcohol 24 hours before surgery.

  • Smoke prior to surgery.  Ask your physician about nicotine replacement treatment if you wish to stop smoking.

  • Shave any part of your body within 24 hours of surgery.

  • Wear contact lenses, jewelry, piercings, wigs, hair pins and hair pieces (these can interfere with your surgery), make-up or nail polish.

  • Bring valuables (including money, wedding rings, credit cards and mobile phones) or your suitcase into the hospital.  You may leave it with the person accompanying you to your surgery.

  • Plan on driving yourself home.