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Preparing for surgery

There are a few things to do before you go to the hospital on the day of surgery:

  • Write down all of your medications, as well as the doses and the times you take them, and keep the list with you. Write down any allergies including drug allergies and what happens when you take or are exposed to the medication.
  • If you are taking blood thinners, be sure to ask the surgeon if you should keep taking them. [Blood Thinner Information (pdf)]
  • Arrange for a ride home from the hospital. Surgery times can change, so be sure your ride is flexible.
  • All body jewelry must be removed prior to arriving at the hospital. Jewelry and body piercings are no longer taped for surgery. This means you may have to go to a jeweler or piercer to have it removed if you cannot take it off yourself.
  • Do not apply lotion or makeup before surgery.
  • If you are having surgery that will affect your ability to walk or move around, make sure you have a clear pathway through the common areas of your home. Please remove items such as throw rugs, electrical cords, dog beds, etc.
  • If your surgeon orders a bowel prep, it should be completed the day before surgery. [bowel prep information (pdf)]
  • Make sure a recovery area is set up for your return home. Have your supplies ready — movies, food in the refrigerator, bottles of water, books, etc. Narcotic pain medications can cause constipation, so have a stool softener on hand.
  • We have made a checklist to help you be prepared for surgery and to remind you of what to bring with you: Preparing for surgery checklist (pdf)

Communicating with the surgeon

Ask about:

  • Time of surgery
  • Whether you will be spending the night at the hospital or going home
  • Whether you will need to get prescriptions filled
  • What you will be able to eat after surgery
  • What activities you will be able to do

Getting answers to these questions will help you arrange transportation, medications, food and medical equipment.

Communicating with the hospital

Coordinating your surgery takes planning, and you may receive multiple phone calls. These calls are important to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly. You should expect at least three different phone calls:

Preregistration call. The business office will call you about your insurance and contact information, and to preregister you for surgery.

Preoperative Clinic call. You will receive a call from a registered nurse to go over your medications and health history and to receive instructions prior to surgery. Please have your updated medication list with you during this phone call. The nurse will let you know which medications to take and which to stop taking before surgery. Tell the nurse which pharmacy you prefer.

Also, give the nurse the best phone number to reach you. This number will be used to notify you of any changes in the surgery schedule. If you are from out of town, make sure we have a mobile phone number. Be sure to check your messages on your home machine as well as your cell phone.

The Preoperative Clinic nurse will verify the time of surgery and when you should arrive. Keep in mind that surgery schedules often change. If your surgery time changes, you will be notified the evening before.

Evening-before call. If there is a change in the surgery schedule, you will receive a call the evening before your surgery. You might be asked to come in earlier or later than previously planned. Again, be sure to check your messages!