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 complete all of your pretests, which can include blood tests, EKG, X-ray or appointments with other physicians. Your surgical team will let you know what is needed. It’s also important to speak with your doctor regarding any medications you should or should not take prior to surgery.

  • Your surgeon may arrange for you to have a telephone visit with the Anesthesia team to review your medical history and assess if any further testing or doctor’s visits are needed before surgery. Please have your updated medication list ready for this phone call. 
  • If your surgeon has instructed you to see your primary care physician, cardiologist, or other care provider prior to surgery, please schedule that appointment as soon as possible so as not to delay your 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.
  • 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
  • Call your surgeon’s office immediately if you have questions, are feeling unwell or need to cancel your surgery.
  • Take medications as instructed by your surgeon, anesthesiologist or primary care doctor the morning of surgery with a glass of water. You can drink water up until two hours prior to your surgery. Bring a list of all your medications to the hospital.
  • Complete all tasks that were asked of you (for example, enema or bowel preparation, carbohydrate drink) if instructed by your surgeon.
  • Take a shower using skin prep kit provided by your surgeon or antibacterial soap (such as Safeguard® or Dial®).
  • Focus on the small things that matter, by taking care to: Brush your teeth before surgery, 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.
  • Bring a copy of your Advance Directives, if necessary.

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 clear liquids after midnight before surgery.  You may have clear liquids (water, black coffee or tea with no milk, Gatorade) up until 2 hours prior to 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.