The morning of surgery
If you are instructed to take medications the morning of surgery, you may do so with a small sip of water. Do not eat or drink anything from the time you were told; this includes ice, mints, gum, hard candy and chewing tobacco. This is important for your safety, as such items increase your saliva, and it’s important that your stomach be empty. Be aware that the anesthesia provider could cancel the surgery if these instructions are not followed.
Arrive on time. There are many things we have to do to prepare you for surgery, and it takes time. When you get to the preoperative area, you will be asked your name and date of birth many times; this is for your safety.
The admitting nurse and nurse’s aide will take precautions to help prevent infection. You will be given wipes that have an antiseptic called CHG, which you will use on your skin. These might be the same types of wipes as you used the night before; the extra antibacterial layer decreases the chances of infection. [Cleaning instructions: English, Spanish]
You might also have a nasal swab done to screen for the MRSA “super bug.” This is a bacterium that lives in the nose and can cause infections at your surgery site. We take precautions for people who might have been exposed to MRSA, so screening prior to surgery is important. After we do that screen, we will use an iodine swab to clean your nose.
Studies show that being warm when you enter the operating room reduces the chance of infection, so we ensure that you are kept warm and we might use warm-air blowers.
If you use a CPAP machine at home, you should bring it — but do not bring any other valuables. Leave all of your jewelry at home. We can no longer tape jewelry in place, so please remove all body jewelry prior to coming to the hospital.
Bring your medication and allergy list, as well as any envelope or paperwork that the surgeon gave you.
Unless you are from out of town, leave all of your medications at home. There are a few exceptions, you may be asked to bring during your preoperative screening.
Establish a spokesperson while you are in surgery. Generally, this is the person you want the surgeon to speak to right after the procedure while you are still sleeping. Make sure that hospital staff can contact this person, either by phone or by having them stay in the waiting area.
You will not be able to drive the day of surgery or while taking narcotic pain medication. Know who your ride home is and the telephone number. Make sure your ride home is flexible due to varying lengths of recovery. If you are staying overnight in the hospital, leave your belongings in the car until after surgery, when your spokesperson can bring it to your hospital room.